Newsletter May 2023

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In this months newsletter we cover:

Our 2022/23 Impact report

Voter ID requirements ahead of next week’s elections

Cheap broadband deals for people on low income

Eastwood – Health and Well-being Roadshow

Impact Report 2023

Today we published the 2022/23 Impact Report that outlines our success in terms of the positive difference we make for clients, our fantastic partnerships and the social return on investment we bring to the borough.

It has been a challenging year for everyone, residents and organisations alike. In the last operating year we helped 7,000 clients with 20,000 problems. We helped people increase their income and access emergency support worth a total of £2.7 million. We also helped people reduce their spending by ensuring they are not penalised by loyalty penalties that trap people into long term expensive contracts, helped low income households shift to social tariffs like the broadband contracts described below and rescheduled household debts, sometimes getting them written-off. We increased our clients financial well-being overall with 57% reporting at least one measure of improved financial resilience.

It’s also the case that we attract significant return on investment for our core funders. We calculate that for every £1 of core funding received we achieve an economic return for Broxtowe of £37. This is calculated from things like the new grants invested in Broxtowe, the jobs we create and of course the economic gains for our clients from the advice we provide. Our volunteers also contribute, their time given for free is valued at £130,000 per year.

The cost-of-living crisis has dominated demand for advice over the past 12 months with the greatest number of enquiries relating to income maximisation, including welfare benefits advice, housing insecurity, debt and problems with utilities. For the first time help to access charitable support has moved into the ‘big four’ areas of enquiry. This is a direct result of the the number of people contacting us who we assess as having a negative household budget, now 50% of all debt clients.

In our stakeholder survey we were rated either good or very good for partnership working by 100% of our respondents. Based on this reputation the number for specialist projects we run has increased to 30% of all our work. This work is important because it increases outcomes for our most vulnerable clients and adds to our overall capacity to help people with the problems they face. However, almost 70% of clients contact us through our core service that remains crucial to the delivery of advice services in Broxtowe.

Citizens Advice Broxtowe is a charity for the community and we look forward to helping more people during 2023/24. You can download the full report below:

Voter IDMay Council Elections

There is a final reminder that local government elections will take place in Broxtowe on Thursday 4th May. If you are voting at the polling station don’t forget to take appropriate ID with you.

Here are the key forms key forms of ID that are accepted:

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
  • A Blue Badge
  • Older Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
  • Disabled Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom

For more information visit The Electoral Commission website.

Don’t miss out on cheap broadband

Digital exclusion is a key contributor to spending inequalities in Broxtowe. A recent report by the BBC highlighted that millions of families on low incomes are unaware that they may be entitled to cheaper broadband deal. These deals are called social tariffs and are set at between £10 to £20 per month. In the article the BBC explain:

“Reduced social tariffs allow UK households receiving government benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support to pay less for internet and telecoms access.”

There are other advantages with social tariffs such as shorter contracts and no exit fees. There are concerns, expressed by Ofcom that providers are not making people aware of social tariffs.

Matthew Upton of Citizens Advice commented:  “While we support the drive to raise awareness, the poor take-up looks like groundhog day. It’s time to question whether firms offering social tariffs on a voluntary basis really works.” You can read the full response to the latest broadband social tariff figures here.

Access to affordable broadband is just one element of the Financial Resilience working being carried out by Citizens Advice Broxtowe. You’re not alone if you are struggling to budget and make ends meet. Read more about what we can help you with through our Financial Resilience Programme and contact one of our officers who can direct you to the correct level of support.

Health and Wellbeing Roadshow – Eastwood

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