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Our Specialist Advice Services

MacMillan Cancer Support

The Citizens Advice Macmillan Project provides welfare benefits and grant advice countywide to people diagnosed with cancer, including their family and carers. The project is based at the dedicated cancer support centre at The Cove in the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.

Having a cancer diagnosis can dramatically affect someone’s financial circumstances. Not being able to work, needing to reduce working hours or managing on a fixed income can mean having to make financial choices which increases the stress and worry at an already difficult time when patients should be focusing on their treatment and recovery.

Daily living costs can increase – travelling to hospital for treatment; higher heating bills because patients are at home more and have increased sensitivity to the cold; changed dietary requirements; weight loss or gain meaning clothes no longer fit properly and additional childcare costs.

We aim to maximise a client’s income to help lessen the financial impact and we advise and support clients to help them make informed choices. We provide a service that helps clients negotiate the benefits system and make Macmillan grant applications on behalf of our clients. We also work with other Macmillan professionals in Cornwall to provide further support to those affected by cancer.

In the last year, the project secured £18,411 in Macmillan grants and an income gain including welfare benefits totalling £1.7m on behalf of the people who used our service.

CONTACT

macmillan@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk

Call 01872-672090. You will be asked to leave a message, and can expect a call back within 24 hours (excluding weekends)

Pensionwise

We provide free, unbiased guidance to clients aged 50-plus with a defined contribution pension pot.

Guidance covers what the new pension freedoms mean and retirement options, but does not provide financial advice.

Normally, confidential face-to-face appointments are held at our offices, outreach locations and workplaces across Cornwall with our experienced specialist advisers. Last year we saw 853 people in Cornwall.

Pensionwise is a Government-funded service and appointments usually last 45 to 60 minutes. During the session we explain your pension options, explain how each option is taxed and give you next steps to take. All guidance is independent and we don’t recommend any products or companies or tell you how to invest your money.

During the coronavirus lockdown we are unable to provided face-to-face appointments but we are carrying out phone appointments. You should be aged 50 or over and have a UK based defined contribution pension (not a final salary or career average pension).

To book go to www.pensionwise.gov.uk/en/telephone-appointments/new

Or call 0800-138-3944 between 8am and 8pm Mondays to Fridays.

Debt Advice

CA Cornwall employs a team of specialist debt caseworkers, who cover the whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, helping people find a way out of their financial problems.

In 2019/20 the team helped 1,525 people with debt issues, helping them write-off a total of £5.6m in debt and reschedule a further £1.7m.

Funded by the Government’s Money Advice Service, the team provides advice on strategies for helping you manage debt, including payment plans, full and final settlement, bankruptcy, Debt Relief Orders and Individual Voluntary Agreements.

Skilled advisers hold confidential appointments. They never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation and will always be happy to talk to you, however big or small your problem may be.

The team can help find ways to manage your debts, even if you think you have no spare money and suggest ways to deal with debts.

Because of the coronavirus lockdown, we’re not holding face-to-face debt advice sessions right now but we are carrying out appointments by phone.

Text the word ADVICE DEBT to 78866. We’ll call you back within 48 hours (excluding weekends).

Or call the Debt Team on 01752-850 488 between 9.30-11.30am on a Monday or Friday. If we’re busy and you are unable to speak to an adviser, please leave a message and we will call you back within three working days.

Victim Support

Our specialist advisers work on a confidential basis with victims as part of the Victim Care Unit, run by Victim Support.

The unit provides immediate support and referral on to organisations such as Citizens Advice. It acts as a source of immediate support and information for all victims and has a mix of police and third sector specialists.

Citizens Advice Cornwall is accredited as one of a network of providers that can offer support and advice to victims.

The Victim Care Unit helps victims navigate and make informed choices about the organisation they want to receive support from and how to access the service.

Family Court Service

The Family Court Domestic Abuse Support Service offers practical information about the court process and emotional support to help victims feel more confident about attending family court hearings at Truro.

The service is free, independent and confidential and is open to any respondent or applicant who identifies as a victim of domestic abuse. Priority is given to people representing themselves and private family law cases involving child disputes and protective orders.

To apply for help please fill out the referral form at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/citizens-advice-witness-service/witness-referral-family

Financial Capability

Our dedicated Financial Capability team (FINCAP) aims to reduce poverty and hardship by improving people’s financial skills – especially among more vulnerable members of the community.

It is widely recognised that often financial problems stem from poor money management and financial decision making, so FINCAP gets to the root cause of the problem.

CA Cornwall leads the FINCAP project for both Devon and Cornwall, and works with partner organisations, such as other financial charities, local authorities and banks, to share information and good practice supporting local people with problems and frontline workers helping them.

As well as organising forums in Truro and Plymouth, FINCAP is running a pilot programme providing financial education to students at Launceston and Callington colleges.

In 2020, we started a new project in North Cornwall, targeting the most vulnerable groups in society who have some of the worst social and financial life outcomes.

If you would like to learn more about FINCAP or if your organisation would like to take part in our forums, please contact admin@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk

Money Matters

Money Matters is a partnership between Citizens Advice Cornwall and Cornwall Council to tackle child poverty.

The five-year scheme is aimed at vulnerable children, young people and their families and aims to improve their financial situation, address debt, and help families thrive together.

Cornwall has significantly higher levels of deprivation than most local authorities. According to a 2019 report by the End Child Poverty Campaign, overall almost a third of children in Cornwall (29%) live in poverty. That figure combined with the economic impact of COVID-19 means that an increasing number of families across Cornwall are struggling to make ends meet.

People taking part in Money Matters are given the skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to manage their finances themselves and improve their health, wellbeing and resilience by reducing stress and isolation.

Families are referred by Cornwall Council to Citizens Advice specialists who will work with them to produce an assessment of their financial situation and help them take advantage of other Citizens Advice services including help with claiming benefits and in-depth debt advice.

The advisers will also direct them to help from other agencies in the county where appropriate.

If you are in financial difficulty or need some advice on balancing your budget, please visit www.supportincornwall.org.uk

Help to Claim - Universal Credit

Our Help to Claim team helps guide people through the process of claiming Universal Credit, the government’s new benefits scheme.

Universal Credit is a new benefit combining six benefits into one, including Jobseekers Allowance and Working Tax Credits. It is now fully rolled out across the UK. When fully implemented, around 7 million people in England and Wales will be receiving Universal Credit.

Help is tailored to the individual and available, face-to-face, over the phone – 0800 144 8444 – by email helptoclaim@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk and online through webchat and advice content at www.citizensadvice.org.uk

This may include assistance with the online application form or help with providing evidence like childcare costs.

£Wise-Up - Learn Budgeting Skills

£Wise-Up! Is a new, innovative project aimed at young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs) who are experiencing difficulties handling money. The project, funded by the European Social Fund, is being run in North and South East Cornwall and involves people receiving one-to-one help with household budgeting and saving to try and prevent them building-up large debts in the future. It teaches basic money skills and offers tips and advice on a range of issues, such handling priority bills, making sensible purchasing decisions and planning for future needs.

You can take part in this free scheme if you’re:

· Aged 15+
· Not in education or training or not working
· Taking a career break or a full time carer / full time parent
· Live in and around Newquay, St Austell, Bodmin, Liskeard, Launceston, Saltash, Bude and Callington.

To find out more email wiseup@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk

Or text: ADVICE WISEUP to 78866

PowerHouse - Energy Advice for Young People

The Powerhouse project helps young people build the skills they need to manage their energy use effectively and make informed decisions about it. Accessing the scheme early will help you to avoid getting into difficulty with your fuel bills and falling into debt.

Support will equally be made available to those who have already fallen behind with their fuel payments, by accessing benefits to help pay their energy bills.

We are client-led and tailor our sessions to your individual needs. We offer face-to-face, online and telephone advice on the following subjects:

  • Tips for reducing energy waste and keeping your home warm and damp-free
  • Access to grants for heating and insulation
  • Get smart meters installed to track and adapt your energy use
  • Access benefits you are eligible for to help you pay your fuel bills
  • Help with switching energy suppliers
  • Help out of fuel debt
  • Build a sustainable, debt-free energy future – deal with the insulation issues now and you will be saving on your energy bills for years to come
  • Take positive action to reduce pollution and protect the future of our shared home, our Planet.

You can take part in this free scheme if you are:

· Aged 16-24
· Not in employment, education or training /leaving care
· Living in Cornwall

To find out more, email powerhouse@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk OR text the words ‘ADVICE POWERHOUSE’ to 78866.

Energy Projects

Official Government statistics show that 13% of households in Cornwall and 21% of households on the Isles of Scilly are affected by fuel poverty, one of the highest rates in the country.

Citizens Advice Cornwall has teamed-up with Cornish comic and actor, Kernow King, to produce a new video to show people how they can save money and keep warm by following some simple, practical steps at home.

The video can be viewed on You Tube or the Citizens Advice Cornwall website.

We have also launched an advice service to give people one-to-one phone and online advice on making their homes warm, switching supplier, paying off fuel bills and highlighting various grants and schemes that could help them.

The project, backed by Western Power Distribution and the Energy Saving Trust, is free and open to anyone worried about energy costs this winter.

European Union Settlement Scheme

The European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) means that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their families who are living in the UK and want to continue living here after June 2021 need to apply for settled status or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

If successful they will be issued with settled or pre-settled status and will have the right to stay, work or study in the UK, use the NHS, claim state pension and rent a home. It is free to apply to the Home Office scheme and it has been running since March 2019.

An estimated 3.5 million EU citizens currently resident in the UK are eligible to apply to remain in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

Cornwall Council statistics state that there are around 15,000 EEA nationals who are resident in Cornwall. Of these, up to March 2020, 9,040 EAA nationals have submitted an application for Settled Status according to Home Office quarterly statistics.

There are an estimated 3,000 to 4,800 EEA nationals in Cornwall who have yet to apply for settled status. We estimate that around 20% of this group fall into the vulnerable category based on our experience of the client group in Cornwall, leaving us with a target group of 750 EEA nationals to locate and support with their EUSS applications.

Who are the EUSS Team?

The team is overseen by a project manager and a team of trained caseworkers and one administrator who currently work remotely and advise clients by phone or online face to face meetings. The team hope to soon return to office based face to face appointments further to government guidance regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

How can clients access the service?

Clients seeking help with a Settled Status application will be able to access the service via our website, text service, phone, email or in person (once lockdown is eased) and via 3rd party referral from partner organisations.

To get help with your EU Settled Status application:

– Call 03333 440061 (calls charged at your normal rate)
– Email: euss@citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk
– Text EUSS to 78866

Legal Help for Housing Repossessions

Tackling Domestic Violence

In 2019/20 75 people living in Cornwall sought advice about domestic abuse.

We work closely with other agencies to help clients disclose domestic violence and explore their options, and we help sort out any ensuing debt and housing issues and benefit entitlements following separation.

The Citizens Advice ASK RE programme aims to help break the silence about domestic abuse, give better advice and support to clients who disclose, and develop improved referral and signposting pathways with partners.

An independent evaluation of the national programme reported:

● 24% of our clients who are asked say they are experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse from a partner or family member
● 86% of clients asked a question about domestic abuse said they are satisfied or very satisfied to be asked

The programme trains and supports advisers to routinely ask unaccompanied face to face clients with debt, benefit, housing and family/relationship enquiries about whether they have in the past experienced, or are currently experiencing, any form of gender-based violence and abuse.

If you need to contact the specialist abuse team use out Text Service:

Text the word “ADVICE DA” to 78866 (note space between ADVICE and DA).

Please include information about the best day/time to contact you, so that we can do so safely.

Disability Cornwall

A dedicated adviser working with DisAbility Cornwall to provide advice and support to their clients on a wide variety of issues.

MHEnd

Dedicated debt advice to clients of Pentreath to reduce financial pressures and stress and hopefully contribute to improved mental health.