- Help Through Crisis
We have been successful in securing a 5 year Help Through Crisis Fund Big Lottery grant. The grant is in order to support people experiencing crisis in an ongoing, holistic way. Our work previously has focused on holistic support for people’s problems but in an ongoing way. The grant will help us to support clients to access other services that they need in order to manage their long-term issues and begin top gain the skills needed to better manage their lives in future. We are working with 7 key partners and at least 33 winder partners and the project started in the beginning of May.
- Personal Budgeting Support for Universal Credit claimants
Universal Credit Full Service was introduced into Cambridge on 17th October 2018. We are helping people to budget on the new benefit by taking referrals for people based in Cambridge City or South Cambridgeshire. You can also come and visit us directly (self-refer).
Under Universal Credit people will be paid money for different bills under one monthly sum. This goes to one household member. Currently, people get different benefits at different times, and different people in a household can claim them. Universal Credit is going to signify a big adjustment for some households to manage their money.
Additionally, you will have to wait at least 5 weeks before receiving Universal Credit after you have made a claim. We want to help people to budget during this time and avoid getting into significant debt.
For more information on Universal Credit go to the Citizens Advice website.
For online information on managing your money go to Online Information -> Managing your Money
- Advice on Prescription
It has been shown that good advice can improve health outcomes, which can save the NHS a lot of money. Good advice can help to improve people's living conditions, which can have positive effects on physical health (e.g. by helping people to obtain suitable accommodation or repairs to their property). People feel reduced stress once issues have been resolved or they find a way forward with a problem. This can improve mental health outcomes and reduce anxiety and depression. This, in turn, can remove barriers to engaging in healthy behaviours such as giving up smoking and exercising more.
Because of this, we have worked with Cambridge City Council and the NHS to set up an outreach advice service at East Barnwell Medical Centre (in the Abbey ward). It is important to provide outreach for people suffering with health issues, as they are less likely to travel to our local office for help because they may not be well enough.
Our Outreach Advice service at East Barnwell has been running since May 2015. It has become a busy and effective service that has seen some extremely positive outcomes for patients. Most clients have been referred for our support by their GPs and there have also been a large number of self-referrals. The most common enquiry areas that we have helped with have been houisng and debt.
The service has become so successful that we have been provided with funding to open outreach services at three more medical centres. The location of these centres is still to be confirmed.
- Energy Best Deal
We are providing one-to-one energy advice to help clients through our Energy Best Deal (extra) project. The project offers consumers one-on-one help in reviewing energy tariffs, dealing with fuel bills, debts and energy efficiency improvements.
The Energy Best Deal projects have been created through a nationwide partnership between Citizens Advice and major energy companies.
For more information, visit the Citizens Advice website.
- Helping Rural Energy Consumers
Cambridge & District Citizens Advice is part of the rural Issues Group. The Rural Issues Group is the umbrella body, which represent the 161 local offices who work across rural England and Wales.
The group is needed because living in a rural area can bring many different challenges, but this is especially true around the issue of energy. Rural communities often suffer disproportionately from lack of choice or access to services. Recent research by Citizens Advice central office found that the top areas with the coldest and unhealthiest homes (those with the lowest energy efficiency ratings) are all in rural areas. Fuel poverty is also a major concern with around 1 in 7 rural households in rural England struggling to pay to heat their homes.
Part of our work in the Rural Issues Group is to identify and highlight the issues around delivering advice to rural areas, and it’s clear that there is a need for nuanced and tailored advice and support for rural consumers.