CITIZENS ADVICE: An update from Citizens Advice Wokingham

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Wokingham Citizens Advice Jake Morrison

With Jake Morrison from Wokingham Citizens Advice

We try to keep our weekly column as varied as possible, with insights in to our work, introductions to members of our team and some announcements. In June, we decided to start a monthly round-up of all things Citizens Advice Wokingham to share with the community.

We are always interested to hear your views – please drop us an email on admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk or call 0118 978 7258 if you have any feedback to give.

For advice, you can visit our Wokingham or Woodley offices, or call 0300 330 1189. Visit our website for more information on our opening times – www.citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

Organisational Updates

  • In June we saw 347 clients – that is up 111 clients on June 2018
  • The most frequent issues that we advised on and supported with were universal credit, other benefits, debt, housing and employment
  • The top benefits and tax issue was supporting people to make an initial claim, and the top debt issue remains council tax arrears.

We have had two recent successes on debt cases. The first was to achieve bankruptcy for a client with chronic health issues, whose debts just exceeded the Debt Relief Order limit of £20,000. The second was a Debt Relief Order for a client of £6000, achieved with the help of the Salvation Army. Both clients reported a reduction in their stress levels, with the second saying that they were ‘over the moon’.

Annual General Meeting

  • We are holding our AGM on Friday 27th September at the Council Chamber, Shute End Offices in Wokingham starting at 12pm. This will be an opportunity to hear about what we do and how we do it, our successes and how you can volunteer. Please come along, we would love to see you. To register your attendance please email admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

Fundraising / Awareness raising

  • We held a successful Quiz Night in March, raising £401.57.
  • We participated in the May Fayre as an awareness-raising opportunity, with contributions for bric-a-brac items invited. This raised £47.20. We plan to host more in the future, so check out our website!

Research & Campaigns

June was a busy month for Research & Campaigns, as the Scam Awareness Project took place between the 10th and 23rd of the month.

Two popups took place for this event. The first was held in Woodley Market Place on June 18th, and the second was on June 20th in Wokingham Market Place. Both were assisted by volunteers and their family members.

National Calls for Evidence are still focused on Universal Credit claims, including scams. We have become aware of reports in the media in this month of scammers allegedly offering people cheap loans, then taking the individual’s ID and personal and financial details in order to claim benefits.

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 also came into effect from 1st June, which outlines the nature of the fees that landlords and agents may charge tenants. There are approximately forty-two letting agents within a five-mile radius of Wokingham with the postcode RG41; we hope to approach all of these agents to confirm the action that they will take to apply this ruling to all their current and future landlords who they are agents for.

The next planned event is on Friday 26th July between 9am and 1:00pm at Wokingham’s Tesco Superstore on Finchampstead Road. As always, we are looking for volunteers to assist.

If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer and supporting our Research & Campaigns efforts, please email volunteer@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

Volunteering & Training:

We have been very successful in recruiting new volunteers from open days recently. There will now be open days held twice a month. The next open day is Friday 19th July: 1pm – 2pm at Waterford House, Wokingham, RG40 2YF

We are currently looking to recruit assessors, who may then be able to train towards the role of advisor. We are also keen to recruit volunteer receptionists.

You can get help and advice from your local Citizens Advice or visit www.citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk or visit Second Floor, Waterford House, Erftstadt Court, Wokingham RG40 2YF. Tel: 0300 330 1189. email: admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

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