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Oxfordshire South & Vale Headlines – September

Didcot Emergency Foodbank news

The BBC reported that a number of UK foodbanks ran out of supplies during the summer holidays as some parents struggled without the free dinners provided by schools. We have seen the same high demand in Didcot.  In August 2017, 199 people were helped compared to 96 in August 2016. The Wallingford Foodbank also saw many extra clients during the school holidays.

Universal Credit (UC) wait a key factor in rent arrears, says DWP report

UC is scheduled to start in our area in early October and our advisers have been trained on its procedures and potential problems. The BBC reported that many Universal Credit recipients are being pushed into rent arrears due to the minimum 5 week payment wait. Citizens Advice nationally has called for the roll out of UC to be suspended while problems are resolved.  Those receiving UC were also more likely to struggle with debt. Head of Research Kayley Hignell said:  “We support [UC’s] aims in principle and it shows promise…but the initial claim takes 6 weeks and that can cause people huge problems.”

Housing provider SOHA helps tenants with job search

Local social housing provider Soha Housing has received a grant from the European Social Fund to help more people into employment and training.  As part of the Launchpad project, it can now offer support to anyone living in Oxfordshire, whether or not they’re a Soha tenant. You can contact them on ri@soha.co.uk or 0800 014 15 45 (Freephone) if you know anyone who might benefit from:

  • 1:1 employment support – each applicant will receive an individual assessment to identify the right support to help them into employment
  • Getting online – Soha will help people acquire the skills to search and apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
  • Training – the training most likely to help people towards a job can be held at Soha’s head office in Didcot, in the local community or online.

Reducing energy costs

Citizens Advice is keen to increase the number of people it advises on energy usage, energy efficiency and energy costs. Many people are in fuel poverty or in debt because they are spending more on energy than they need to. We will provide a private one-to-one advice meeting and assess whether there is scope to help the client manage fuel bills, claim benefits or reduce household outgoings on fuel. This can include switching suppliers. All five Citizens Advice Offices in the OSAV area provide this service. 

Citizens Advice needs you!

Last year, Citizens Advice advised nearly 9,600 people, a 13% increase on the previous year. Demand is increasing and we need to recruit and train more volunteer advisers, especially in Didcot, Abingdon and Faringdon.  After training, we ask volunteers to work 2 half days each week. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact sally.stevens@osavcab.org.uk  or apply via the website caox.org.uk

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/oxfordshire-south-vale-headlines-september/