NEW Cost of Living Crisis service enhancements launched by Essex County Council & Citizen’s Advice Essex
As you might expect, the current cost of living crisis has caused a lot of worry for people, and many more, some of whom are in crisis, are now seeking advice having, in some cases, not used our services before.
For this reason, we are pleased to offer, with the support of Essex County Council, a package of service enhancements to respond more effectively to current challenges.
- A new, countywide out-of-hours telephone service, staffed between 4 and 8 pm between Mondays and Fridays and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays for people residing in the Essex County Council area.
The number for this service is 0808 250 5724
We are also able to offer:
- Enhanced generalist advice provision, which provides a general response to demand pressures.
- Additional capacity to provide specialist Debt and Money Advice
If you work with vulnerable service users or clients, we hope our new telephone service will be helpful, particularly if you are unable to make a formal referral or it isn’t appropriate. Please also take note of these new services for yourself or your colleagues.
Remember also that our usual daytime services and referral opportunities are still available.
Referrals can be made to many of the Local Citizens Advice offices, notably in the west of Essex, through Frontline or elsewhere, using the local referral pages of each respective Local Citizens Advice Office where details can be found of each local office’s existing services and local channel access arrangements.
We know that many households will be finding it harder to manage with the increasing costs. Here are some useful links to support:
Government support to help with the costing living – www.gov.uk/HelpForHouseholds
Essex County Council Household Support Fund. If you are facing financial hardships, you can get help with your essential household costs. You do not need to be claiming benefits to get support. There are also details of local foodbanks and Citizens Advice Bureau, plus much more. For more information, to to: https://www.essex.gov.uk/money-debt-and-benefits/household-support-fund
Essex County Council Housing options and homelessness support: https://www.essex.gov.uk/housing-options-and-care-homes/homelessness-get-advice-and-support
Essex Wellbeing Service can also refer residents for financial support and as well: https://www.essexwellbeingservice.co.uk
Referrals to local Foodbanks – Essex Wellbeing Service, Citizens Advice and the Social Prescribers (based in your local GP surgery) can all refer you for additional food and essential items.
Wagestream Cost of Living Factsheet
In their State of Financial Wellbeing report, 50% of UK employees told us they wanted their employer to better support them to save money in 2022 – ahead of anything else. Despite this clear preference just 18% of employers plan to do so.
The pandemic significantly affected the savings of UK workers. A 45% rise in negative life events throughout 2020, predominantly income shocks such as reduced hours and furlough, meant employees were increasingly forced to raid savings for daily living expenses. Even pre-pandemic, 50% of UK households didn’t have enough saved to cover an unexpected bill of £100.
What should employers do? Focus on the how. Most people intrinsically understand why they need to save, but it’s the gap between knowledge and action that’s difficult to bridge. Proven technology, such as Wagestream’s build pots, makes it as easy as possible to put money aside every pay cycle. You can also contact Wagestream, who would be happy to offer a online Guest Speaker session for your employees.
Websites for advice:
Relationships – talking about money – https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/family-and-care/talk-money/talking-to-your-partner-about-money
Christians Against Poverty – https://capuk.org/
Step Change –https://www.stepchange.org/
Essential Living Fund – https://www.essex.gov.uk/money-debt-and-benefits/emergency-money-and-food
Turn2Us – https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
Warm Spaces in Essex
Find a warm and welcome space today, in Essex we are partnering with Essex Libraries, where you gather, stay warm and meet for free. we have over 3,000 registered sites: https://www.warmwelcome.uk/#find-a-space
Martin Lewis and OU Academy of Money launches
The Open University and Martin Lewis have joined forces to produce a new free course – MSE’s Academy of Money.
Packed with videos, audios, quizzes and activities, the course covers all the key aspects of personal finance in six sessions of study that each take around two hours to complete.
The course starts by looking at how to be savvy when spending money and at the behavioural and marketing pressures that try to influence what consumers buy.
For more information visit
Identifying and responding to fuel poverty training – practical frontline worker training
With increased domestic fuel costs and unprecedented volatility in the energy market, people on low incomes, including pensioners, people with disabilities and families, face profound challenges keeping their homes warm, dry and conducive to health.
As a frontline worker, you may feel powerless to respond. Still, the need to respond is greater than ever, especially because, as more people move into “fuel poverty”,
the number of those who are most profoundly fuel-poor also increases. Government policy and individual action should, in the face of overwhelming need, respond to
those worst affected.
Nudging the people you help, towards making changes in how they use energy, engaging in opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of their homes AND making
sure they can access the high-quality, intensive energy advice the Citizens Advice service in Essex offers are all ways of responding to these needs.
Our services seek to tackle some of the underlying causes of fuel poverty – not just “hard to heat” homes but also low incomes, issues with benefits and debt.
In this FREE, 90 minute course, delivered by Citizens Advice energy experts, you’ll learn:
- What is fuel poverty, What are the causes and effects, Who is most vulnerable, Practical steps your service user can take
- Grants and schemes available to improve energy efficiency
- The vital role income maximisation plays and how we help including a run down of government support measures
- Other ways Citizens Advice can help and how to refer
- The role of emerging voluntary and public sector responses such as “Warm Spaces.”
New Dates released – Delivered online using Teams: The link to sign up for these sessions is here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/identifying-and-responding-to-fuel-poverty-tickets-449473556507. We hope to offer more sessions, but are waiting to hear about funding.
To receive the DIY mini-deck, please contact Renata Lins Renata.Lins2@essex.gov.uk.
CAB and Essex Anchor Network Fuel Poverty eLearning
We are proud to be able to share the new eLearning which covers the risk factors, health risks and wide range of funding and support available for anyone who is finding it hard
to pay their energy bills. View the 20min eLearning here
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