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Here you will find details of news stories that have been published on the Turn2us home page and Twitter feed (link opens in a new window).

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1/28/2015 10:26:05 AM

Universal Credit available to families in 26 more areas

Turn2us Universal Credit information


 

From this week (starting 26 January), Universal Credit is available to couples with children and lone parents in more areas across the UK.

In which new areas will Universal Credit be available to families from 26 January?

Couples with children and lone parents can now claim Universal Credit in:

  • Ashton-Under-Lyne
  • Wigan
  • Oldham
  • Hyde
  • Stalybridge
  • Stretford
  • Altrincham
  • Southport
  • Crosby
  • Bootle
  • Preston
  • Leyland
  • Prestwich
  • Bury
  • Eccles
  • Worsley
  • Huyton
  • Kirkby
  • St Helen’s
  • Newton-le-Willows
  • Hammersmith
  • Bath
  • Rugby
  • Shotton
  • Harrogate
  • Inverness.

Where can I find more information on Universal Credit?

Read the Turn2us Universal Credit information

Source: Department for Work and Pensions: Welfare transformation comes to families in more areas (link opens in a new window)

Date of publication: 28 January 2015

1/26/2015 2:52:38 PM

Six Point Foundation has awarded £500,000+ in grants to Jewish Holocaust survivors and refugees living in the UK

 

Find out more about the Six Point Foundation

Photograph copyright: Six Point Foundation


 

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

One of the charities listed on the Turn2us website is Six Point Foundation, which helps Jewish Holocaust survivors and refugees in the UK. The charity is delighted to announce that it has awarded over half a million pounds in 475 grants to individual Holocaust survivors and refugees of Jewish origin living in the UK in financial need.

What is the Six Point Foundation?

Six Point Foundation was set up in 2011 with some of the proceeds from the disposal of assets which were owned by the Otto Schiff Housing Association (OSHA). OSHA had its origins in a fund set up in 1933 to rescue Jewish people from Nazi oppression in Germany.

Grants have been for one-off expenses to improve quality of life such as home adaptations, medical bills, travel costs and temporary care.

Five partner agencies

Five partner agencies work with the Foundation to give out grants:

  • The Association of Jewish Refugees
  • Holocaust Survivors Centre (Jewish Care)
  • Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA)
  • Bikur Cholim
  • North London Bikur Cholim.

They confidentially assess people who have requested help and make requests for grants to the Foundation on their behalf.

Help for charities

Six Point Foundation has also provided over £2.4 million in grants to charities supporting Jewish Holocaust survivors and refugees. Organisations that have received grants include The National Holocaust Centre and Museum (Newark), Gateshead Jewish Family Service, Merseyside Jewish Community Care, Federation of Jewish Services (Manchester) and Jewish Care.

The charity was established as a spend-out foundation and, before it closes within the next two to three years, it aims to reach and help as many struggling Holocaust survivors and refugees as possible in modest but meaningful ways that would not come about if it did not exist.

Examples of people helped

Holocaust survivor

One Holocaust survivor, who received a grant to help with an extraordinary bill they were finding difficult to pay, said: “I simply do not know how to express my thanks and gratitude for helping me out with the massive service charges recently presented to me.  I have had sleepless nights over how to meet this demand.”

Manchester-based refugee

The Association of Jewish Refugees approached the Foundation to help a Manchester-based refugee to install a walk-in shower; redecorate after the installation of a stair lift; and to install a downstairs toilet.

This individual has had long-term mobility issues that have greatly impacted on his quality of life. His social worker explained that, “his physical condition stems from the fact that he was on a waiting list to have surgery done to his foot when he was a child when the Germans said they would no longer treat Jews.”

This request fitted well with the Foundation’s purpose to enhance the lives of survivors and refugees in economic difficulties and he was awarded £6,752 to undertake the home improvements.

The social worker reported later that, “The adaptations are of long-term benefit and will significantly assist in the individual’s ability to remain at home in the event of his health deteriorating further.”

More information about Six Point Foundation

Read Six Point Foundation 's profile on the Turn2us Grants Search

Browse Six Point Foundation's website (link opens in a new window)

Source: Six_Point_Foundation_press_release_15_January_(PDF_file_size_72Kb)

Date of publication: 27 January 2015

1/26/2015 11:31:41 AM

Government launches energy competition for community groups

Turn2us help with water and energy costs information


 

A share of £100,000 is up for grabs as part of a new community energy competition launched today by Energy and

Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey.

Community groups and other eligible organisations invited to apply

Community groups and other eligible organisations across England are invited to apply for the funding to develop innovative energy-saving ideas that could help cut energy bills.

Ideas can be anything from hosting an energy advice stall in your local shopping centre, to crowd-funding solar panels for your local church or running a ‘buddy’ programme to help vulnerable households get to grips with their energy bills, switch energy suppliers and save money.

The competition is open to all community groups that are registered as legal entities – such as local authorities or parish councils, charities, faith groups, social landlords, trusts, community interest companies or co-operatives. The successful applications will be able to demonstrate the biggest potential drop in energy consumption and bills.

Applications close on 10 February 2015, with the winners due to be announced shortly afterwards. Successful applicants will need to deliver their idea by the end of March 2015

Comment from Energy and Climate Change Secretary

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

“We’re looking for communities to tell us how they want to take control of the energy they use so they can cut their bills.

“Local people will know what works best in their areas, and their ideas will help driving even more investment into local energy projects.”.

Visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change Community energy web page for more information (link opens in a new window)

Find out more about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign

For this year's fuel poverty campaign, Cut out the Cold, Turn2us is looking at the growing problems that families are experiencing because of rising energy costs. Families on low incomes often have to choose between energy bills they struggle to afford or leaving their heating off and their homes cold. This is having a big impact on children, putting their health at risk and affecting their progress at school.

There is a range of help available which we will be highlighting as part of our 'Cut out the Cold' campaign.

Go to the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' microsite (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Benefits

Benefit sanctions

Pensions

Date of publication: 26 January 2015

1/26/2015 9:28:54 AM

Personal Independence Payment roll out extends to more areas

Read the Turn2s Personal Independence Payment information


 

From 26 January, if you are claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you will be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead if you live in most of North East England, Wigan, Warrington, parts of the Scottish Highlands or Greater Glasgow and some surrounding areas, and:

  • Your fixed term award is due to expire
  • You are a young person about to turn 16 years old (unless they have been awarded DLA under the Special Rules for terminally ill people)
  • The Department for Work and Pensions receives information about a change in care or mobility needs

You can also choose to claim PIP instead of DLA.

Which postcodes are affected?

People living in the following postcodes are affected:

  • NE
  • DH
  • SR
  • WN
  • WA
  • IV
  • G.

Claiming Personal Independence Payment

If the Department for Work and Pensions invites you to claim PIP, you must do so within 28 days, by phoning the PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222.

Your DLA payments will continue until a decision is made on your PIP claim. This applies even if your DLA award was scheduled to run out when you turned 16. However if you fail to claim PIP when invited, your DLA payments will stop.

See the Turn2us Personal Independence Payment information

See the Gov.UK information: Check how Personal Independence Payment (PIP) affects you (link opens in a new window)

Source: Department for Work and Pensions: Simplifying the welfare system and making sure work pays (link opens in a new window) and Contact a Family news story: Personal Independence Payment rolled out to more areas tomorrow (link opens in a new window)

Date of publication: 28 January 2015

1/23/2015 9:26:42 AM

Poorest families have suffered most from welfare cuts - Institute for Fiscal Studies

Turn2us Benefits Calculator


 

The poorest families in Britain have suffered the most from the coalition’s welfare cuts and tax rises, according to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, published today.

The leading think tank said households were on average £1,127 a year worse off after the implementation of reforms since 2010.

The report is expected to raise concerns that more welfare cuts after the election will further reduce the finances of low income families.

Differences in impact between higher and lower earners

Figures that assess the impact of the VAT rise to 20% and higher personal tax thresholds alongside a range of benefit cuts, found that the income of the lowest 10% of earners fell by more than 4% while the richest 10% suffered a drop of 2.6%.

The "squeezed middle" were the least affected by cuts to tax credits and housing benefit that hit the poorest families. Middle income groups also avoided income tax rises and limits on tax-free pension contributions that affected households at the top end of the income scale.

Middle-income, working-age households without children gained from the coalition’s changes, though largely because they received few benefits before the coalition came to power. They also gained significantly from the coalition’s large increases in the income tax personal allowance.

Middle-income earners with children fared worse, losing tax credits and, among the better off, Child Tax Credit.

The richest tenth of households have seen their direct tax liabilities increase following higher national insurance rates, a lowering of the 40% tax rate threshold and restrictions on tax relief on pension contributions.

Comment from the Institute for Fiscal Studies

James Browne, a senior research economist at IFS and co-author of the report said: “Whichever way you cut it, low-income households with children and the very richest households have lost out significantly from the changes as a percentage of their incomes. Increases in the tax free personal allowance have played an important role in protecting middle-income working-age households meaning that those without children have actually gained overall.”

Read the Institute for Fiscal Studies report: The effect of the coalition’s tax and benefit changes on household incomes and work incentives (link opens in a new window)

Source: Guardian news article: Tax and benefit changes cost UK households £1,127 a year (link opens in a new window)

Use Turn2us tools and services to find help

Check your benefits

You can check your benefit entitlement using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator

Are you eligible for a charitable grant?

If you are on a low income, you may also be eligible for help from a charitable fund. Use the Turn2us Grants Search to find support based on your circumstances, background and needs.

Further information

You may also find the following information useful:

Also in the news

Carers

Food banks

Northern Ireland

Scotland

Social care

Date of publication: 23 January 2015

1/22/2015 9:20:39 AM

Survey shows many parents will reduce hours or give up work because of childcare costs

Turn2s Expecting or bringing up a child information


 

A national survey of 1,000 parents of children aged between 0-16, commissioned by the charity 4Children, found that of those parents paying for childcare, almost a fifth (18%) are considering reducing their hours at work or giving up their job altogether because of the financial strain.

16% of parents admit they will have to cut back on essentials

While more than a quarter (28%) of the same parents will be cutting back on treats in order to meet high childcare costs, a worrying 16% admit they will have to cut back on essentials over the next 12 months.

Parents with young children (aged 0-4) in particular are in real need of support, with almost three quarters (73%) calling on political parties to offer them more help with the cost of childcare and 62% believing it should be an election priority.

Comment from 4Children Chief Executive

4Children Chief Executive Anne Longfield OBE said:

"Childcare represents a huge financial challenge for most parents and our poll shows the real impact costs are having on family life – from giving up work to cutting back on essentials. Removing parents’ choice as to whether or not they continue to work after having children is not the answer for families or for the economy.

“Parents of the youngest children are feeling the pressures most acutely and are calling on politicians to do more to help, particularly with the cost of childcare.

“The family vote will be key at the ballot box in May and 4Children is throwing down the gauntlet to politicians to set out how they will ensure childcare meets the needs of modern family life.”

National childcare hubs

4Children, the Department for education’s strategic partner for early years and childcare, is running a national childcare hubs pilot scheme to help parents put together a tailored package of childcare by coordinating all the different types of childcare available in the local area.

Turn2us resources: Expecting or bringing up a child

If you have a child and are struggling to make ends meet, use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search database to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal background, circumstances and needs.

The Turn2us Information and Resources section contains resources on benefits, grants and managing money, including useful links sheets and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.

This includes a Turn2us Childcare costs information section

The Turn2us Educational Costs information section has information about the financial help that is available for those in education, who is eligible, how much you can get and how to apply.

If you have dependent children 16 or under, see also the Turn2us Expecting or bringing up a child information section. If your children are 16-25, see also the Turn2us information section for young people

Source: 4Children press release: High childcare costs mean one in five parents are considering reducing hours or giving up work altogether in 2015 (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Young people

Date of publication: 22 January 2015

1/21/2015 10:05:27 AM

Struggling with energy bills? Find out what help might be available

Information about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign


When faced with energy bills that keep climbing and household finances that are becoming more and more stretched, it can feel like there's nowhere to turn.

We've heard from families who have become ill through leaving their heating off or going hungry because paying bills and for food becomes too difficult.

Free help is available. You can use three vital tools on the Turn2us website listed below to find help to manage your bills and Cut out the Cold:

Find out more about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign

Also in the news

Benefits sanctions

Social care

Date of publication; 21 January 2015

1/20/2015 4:41:21 PM

Attend our free intermediary workshops in London and Ashford

Information about Turn2us regional workshops


 

Are you an intermediary working with people in financial need in London or Ashford?

Would you like to know more about how Turn2us tools can help you in your work?

Spaces are still available on our free half-day intermediary workshops to be held in London on Tuesday 27 January and Ashford on Wednesday 28 January from 9.30 am - 12.30 pm or 1.30 - 4.30 pm.

To book a place or for more information, contact: Michelle Brookes, Turn2us Training Co-ordinator at email: training@turn2us.org.uk.

Find out more about Turn2us regional workshops

Date of publication: 20 January 2015

1/20/2015 9:30:45 AM

Six million pound boost for struggling energy customers - Citizens Advice

Information about the Turn2us Cut out the Cold campaign


 

Citizens Advice says it has secured a six million pound boost for energy consumers who are struggling.

The national charity and consumer body reports that British Gas, EDF, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE have committed the money, which comes from pre-payment meter top-up which never reached suppliers, to be put towards helping struggling customers.

Fair Play for Prepay campaign

In Autumn 2012, Citizens Advice uncovered that money paid by some pay as you go electricity consumers didn’t go to their supplier. Instead the payments ended up in a central pot and were not allocated to any energy firm.

As part of its Fair Play for Prepay campaign, Citizens Advice has asked suppliers:

  • To use all of the unallocated payments to help consumers who are struggling to pay
  • Offer customers more modern ways of topping up their gas and electricity including online, over the phone and via text
  • Increase the number of prepay tariffs
  • Sign-up to its consumer demand.

Trust funds for customers who are struggling

The big six energy companies have now all agreed to make their share of the money available to struggling customers through trust funds.  Each firm has received their share and has put the money into their trust fund or support scheme.

Now Citizens Advice calls on energy suppliers to commit the full £24 million of unallocated payments to helping consumers who are struggling to pay for electricity and gas.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive's comments

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The missing millions have been sitting untouched for years. It’s great news that companies are putting this money to good use, helping consumers who are vulnerable and struggling to pay for electricity and gas. Six million pound will go some way to helping people, but there’s an opportunity for companies to go even further and commit the full £24 million pot to supporting vulnerable customers.

“Our research has shown that one in six prepayment meter customers has cut off their energy supply because of high costs, difficulty topping up or faulty meters. It’s really important firms make every effort to ensure prepay customers get the help that they need if they are struggling. Putting the millions of pounds of unallocated payments into trust funds and support schemes is a clear way of helping people.

“The old fashioned way of topping up in store is too limiting for consumers and makes it difficult for energy firms to refund customers when things go wrong.  It’s time prepay customers had a more modern and convenient way to pay for their energy including online, over the phone and via mobiles.”

Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign

For this year's fuel poverty campaign, Cut out the Cold, Turn2us is looking at the growing problems that families are experiencing because of rising energy costs. Families on low incomes often have to choose between energy bills they struggle to afford or leaving their heating off and their homes cold. This is having a big impact on children, putting their health at risk and affecting their progress at school.

There is a range of help available which we will be highlighting as part of our 'Cut out the Cold' campaign.

Go to the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' microsite (link opens in a new window)

Source: Citizens Advice press release: Energy firms use ‘missing millions’ to help customers (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Ageing

Benefits and immigration

Disability and incapacity benefit reforms

Families

Legal aid

Northern Ireland

Scotland

Date of publication: 20 January 2015

1/16/2015 10:23:10 AM

'Cut out the Cold' motion submitted to Scottish Parliament

Information about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign


 

Christina McKelvie, Member of the Scottish Parliament  (MSP) for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament about our 'Cut out the Cold' campaign. 

The motion, which to date has been signed by 18 MSPs, is as follows:

"That the Parliament notes with concern the figures issued by the charity, Turn2Us, during its on-going campaign, 'Cut out the Cold', showing that 77% of the low-income families in Scotland struggled to pay their energy bills in 2014; understands that over half of these families cut back on food and one in six took day-to-day loans to cover the costs; further understands that over one million families are struggling in fuel poverty and that this situation can have a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing, especially among children; notes that, according to Turn2Us, almost two thirds of the families do not know that help exists, and hopes that the 'Cut out the Cold' campaign, which aims to raise awareness of financial support available to families, will be successful."

Find out more about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign

For this year's fuel poverty campaign, Cut out the Cold, Turn2us is looking at the growing problems that families are experiencing because of rising energy costs. Families on low incomes often have to choose between energy bills they struggle to afford or leaving their heating off and their homes cold. This is having a big impact on children, putting their health at risk and affecting their progress at school.

There is a range of help available which we will be highlighting as part of our 'Cut out the Cold' campaign.

Go to the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' microsite (link opens in a new window)

Source: The Scottish Parliament website: Motion on Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign by Christina McKelvie (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Austerity

Bankruptcy

Energy costs and children with disabilities

Older people

Scotland

Date of publication: 16 January 2015

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