'Signposting' people affected or likely to be affected by benefit changes
More and more people are becoming aware of the implication for themselves and others of the benefit changes introduced in April 2012, with more to come in April 2013 and other changes due to come into effect in October 2013.
Where to refer people for advice on benefits
Churches and other faith groups frequently come into contact with people who need to speak to someone privately about their entitlement to benefits, how to claim, how to appeal and information about benefit changes that may well effect them. People also need information about debt and money advice. This briefing gives some guidance on where faith groups can get further information and where they can direct people for further advice.
Finding your local Citizens Advice Bureau:
Go to the following link to find your local CAB www.citizensadvice.org.uk
To find out more about the benefit changes, see: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk
Adding to information on the numbers of people effected
The provision of food banks has increased as a result of the numbers of people increasingly affected by benefit changes and/or the financial downturn, which has reduced their income or resulted in their becoming unemployed. Any information that can be gathered on the numbers of people in need of advice because of these developments, would be very valuable, as indicators of growing need and the need for support.
Local advice networks (see below) will also be keen to know more about the local situation and can use this information strategically.
If you are finding the numbers of people approaching you for money or benefits advice rising, let your local MP know, so they get some information on the extent of the problem.
Contacting advice giving networks
A number of areas have advice giving networks who would be interested in any information you can provide:
Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire: Advice centres for Avon (ACFA), info a_t advicenetwork d_o_t org d_o_t uk, 0117 929 2153
Cornwall: Cornwall Community Advice Network, Network Co-ordinator - Kim Mundy, Cornwall Council, E-mail: Kmundy a_t cornwall d_o_t gov d_o_t uk, Tel: 0797 3497 324
Devon: Devon Advice Network - see www.askdan.me/
Plymouth: Advice4 All, 08448 269 717 or email advice a_t advice4all d_o_t org d_o_t uk
Somerset: Somerset Advice Network, www.somersetadvice.net/, Rick Szur (Project Coordinator, Tel: 01823 448953
Email: rick.szur a_t tauntoncab d_o_t org d_o_t uk or info a_t somersetadvice d_o_t net
Torbay: Torbay Advice Network
Tel: 01803 207532, Mobile: 07596 153833, Email: tan-info a_t torbayadvicenetwork d_o_t org d_o_t uk
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