ACFA Advice Squad Articles

22 September 2016: You don’t have to be alone if you rediscover your community by Lauren Maddox, The Care Forum

Getting older in a digital age is much more difficult than it was for previous generations. Older people find themselves in a world less centred on the community, which may be exacerbated by children moving away or friends or spouses passing on. Suddenly, people may find that they need to reconnect to the world, make new friends and even try new activities. Read the full article here

14 July 2016: Anyone could be a victim of a hate crime, they don't have to be a member of group targeted by Ines Lage, Citizens Advice Bristol

On 23 June, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). You'll already have heard much about what may or may not happen in the future. Whilst it is reasonable to expect some laws to change in the next few years, for now, nothing has changed. Despite there being no immediate legal consequences, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) recently announced a fivefold increase in hate crimes over the last couple of weeks reported via their website, True Vision. These reports ranged from graffiti marked on EU nationals' homes and businesses to verbal abuse and physical attacks against EU nationals and British nationals. Read the full article here

30 June 2016: Public Law Challenges by Will Stone, Avon & Bristol Law Centre

16 June 2016: Bristol: City of Sanctuary by Charlotte Eddisford, Pennywise Project

2 June 2016: Illegal Money Lending by Matt Rogers, Citizens Advice Bristol

19 May 2016: Parking Tickets by Saski Gallagher, Talking Money

5 May 2016: Your rights on holidays and the minimum wage by Will Stone, Avon & Bristol Law Centre

A CLIENT contacted me the other day and wanted advice on the new National Living Wage and her holiday entitlements now that summer is, almost, here. From April 1, 2016 a new National Living Wage has been introduced for all workers over 25. The current rate is £7.20 and will rise each April. Read the full article here

21 April 2016: Having trouble getting a GP apppointment? by Alex Hodgson, Healthwatch Bristol

HEALTHWATCH Bristol has been listening to people across Bristol who have had difficulty accessing primary care services or information about treatment. It is important to know that anyone in England may register and consult with a GP without charge. GP practices cannot refuse an application on the grounds of race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition. Read the full article here

7 April 2016: Be Scam Aware by Matt Rogers, Citizens Advice Bristol

Scams, we all think we can spot one a mile off. The stereotypical con man with the slicked back hair offering you the deal of your life. But if all scams were as easy to spot as "Del Boy", billions of pounds wouldn't be lost every year. Read the full article here

24 March 2016: Tips for disabled people looking for employment by Geoff Gorton, WECIL

Disabled people often build up a range of skills in daily life that can be incredibly useful in the workplace; innovation, creative thinking and adaptability to name a few. Yet, disabled people are still largely under-represented when it comes to paid employment. Read the full article here

10 March 2016: Thinking about becoming a landlord? by Ines Lage, Citizens Advice Bristol

Being a landlord in the private-sector can be difficult especially with ever increasing legal responsibilities and checks to maintain. If you're thinking about becoming a landlord (or you already are one) and would like to know more about renting, come along to the Landlord Expo on March 17th at UWE ( Read the full article here

10 February 2016: The Benefit Cap - what you need to know by Gail Bowen-Huggett, ACFA: The Advice Network

28 January 2016: Put the brakes on faulty second hand cars by Ines Lage, Citizens Advice Bristol

Buying a second hand car can be scary. Will you be ripped off? Does the car work? How do you check if it's roadworthy? Last year, more than 66,000 clients in the South West contacted the Citizens Advice consumer line with problems relating to second hand cars. Read the full article here

14 January 2016: Beat the blues this January by Haylee Cowley, Pennywise

Once the excitement of Christmas is over, the start of a new year can leave you low. With credit card bills rolling in and resolutions beginning to fail, Blue Monday is officially the most depressing day of the year, and it falls on the third Monday of every January. Read the full article here

1 January 2016: New year, new country - supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol by Chloë Janssen-Lester, Cash Pointers

For many, it's time to pop open the champagne, celebrate with friends and family and welcome in 2016 and all the hope and possibilities it brings. For some people in our wonderful and vibrant city, the New Year will bring challenges much greater than keeping a resolution. Imagine finding yourself on the cusp of an entirely new life, in a new country, knowing that you are starting from scratch. Read more here

17 December 2015: Don't be lonely this Christmas by Alex Hodgson, The Care Forum

Isolation can creep in for many of us over the Christmas period. Feelings of loneliness can be amplified when we have a little more time on our hands as it is easy to while away the hours reflecting on happier times. Read more here

3 December 2015: Are Direct Payments right for you? by Kirsty Usher, West of England Centre for Inclusive Living

If you're a disabled person who qualifies for health and social care support from their local authority, you can usually choose between two options: commissioned care or direct payments. Read more here

19 November 2015: Top tips on saving money this Christmas by Charlotte Eddisford, Pennywise Project, and Emmanuelle Claverie, North Bristol Advice Centre

Christmas is just around the corner and unless you're extremely organised, the pressure is likely to be mounting. With the kids' wish-list increasing by the day and food and decorations to organise, it's all too easy to overspend and wake up after the festive season with a huge bill. Read more here

5 November 2015: Big changes lie ahead for claimants of Universal Credit by Anne Sharp, Citizens Advice Bristol

Did you know that the way to claim certain benefits is about to change? Universal Credit is about to be rolled out in Bristol. From this week onwards, people in Bedminster, Bishopsworth and Central Bristol making new claims for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) will have to apply for Universal Credit instead. Read more here

22 October 2015: Staying warm and saving money by Basia Ciesewska, Talking Money

As the days grow cooler and the central heating is switched on, now is a good time to think about ways to keep energy costs down this winter. As part of Big Energy Saving Week, here are some handy tips to help you reduce your energy usage, stay warm and save money. Read the full article here

8 October 2015: Protecting your rights at work by Noopur Talwar, Avon & Bristol Law Centre

When things go wrong at work, you have the right to challenge any breach of your employment rights. But how exactly do you go about it? Read the full article here

24 September 2015: With household debt rising there's always help available by Saski Gallagher, Talking Money

According to a recent report from PwC the average UK household will owe nearly £10,000 in debts such as personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts by the end of 2016. Figures from the Money Charity show that so far in September £18,364 has been spent every second on credit and debit cards. Read the full article here

10 September 2015: Help is available with claiming new PIP benefit by Anthony Hearn, West of England Centre for Inclusive Living

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged 16 to 64 with a long term physical and/or mental health impairment. It's gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for some in the UK and is intended to make claiming benefits easier, especially if your condition is fluctuating. To be eligible for PIP you'll need to have been affected by your impairment for the last three months, and it'll need to be likely to continue for at least the next nine. Read the full article here

27 August 2015: Planning your home for later in life is good sense by Judy Mead, WE Care & Repair

Asking you to think ahead about how suitable your current home might be as you get older is a bit like asking you to think about making a will! I expect, like many of us, you're full of good intentions because you know it's something you should do, but somehow it keeps getting put off. Read the full article here

13 August 2015: Is smart gas or electricity meter right for you? by Kate Thomas, Centre for Sustainable Energy

Do you pay for your gas or electricity by a prepayment meter? If so, perhaps you should consider asking your supplier for a new smart meter. This is an electronic meter that can be placed anywhere in the house. It's worth putting it somewhere easily accessible because it has a small display screen which shows how much money you 're spending as you use energy around your house – perfect for seeing how expensive it is to boil a whole kettle for just one cup of tea! Read the full article here

30 July 2015: Legal Aid does still exist! by Clare Carter, Avon & Bristol Law Centre

Have you heard of legal aid? Depending on your circumstances, legal aid can help you pay for legal advice representation at court and mediation with certain problems relating to housing, debt and family issues. Worringly, figures recently released by the Ministry of Justice show the number of people seeking legal aid is declining dramatically. Why, for example, at a time of increasing evictions would the take up of legal aid in housing law decline? Read the full article here

16 July 2015: Don't drown in debt, get help with water bills by Haylee Cowley, Pennywise Project

SUMMER is here, along with paddling pools, water fights and keeping the garden green. It's a time of year when many of us take the water from our taps for granted, and when money's tight it can be tempting to ignore your water bill. There's no need to drown in debt though, because Bristol Water and Wessex Water have several schemes to make sure your bills are manageable. Read the full article here

2 July 2015: Are you 'digital by default'? How a money coach could help by Anne Sharp, Bristol Citizens' Advice

Managing money can be a challenge at the best of times, particularly when we're told we need to do everything on-line these days – pay our bills, register to vote and now claim all our benefits. Read the full article here

18 June 2015: Are you an older person who could use extra income? by Katherine Tanko, North Bristol Advice Centre

It's well known that older people don't always claim the benefits to which they're entitled. In fact, Age UK estimates that approximately £5.5 billion in benefits goes unclaimed by older people every year. This money can mean a warmer home, better quality food and/or the ability to get out and socialise. Read the full article here

3 June 2015: Universal Credit by Richard Stacey, Avon & Bristol Law Centre

Universal Credit is finally coming to Bristol - what do you need to know to be ready? Read the full article here

7 May 2015: Could 2015 be the year that you start your own Bristol business? by Katherine Tanko, North Bristol Advice Centre

Have you ever dreamt of being your own boss? Most of us have at some point in our lives. And with competition for jobs so fierce, as well as signs of an economic upturn, the attraction of starting a business might be a realistic option for you. Read the full article here

23 April 2015: You are what you eat by Matt Rogers, WE Care & Repair & Katherine Tanko, North Bristol Advice Centre

We all need to eat, but we're not all potential MasterChef contestants! Most of us have a standard repertoire of meals that we know how to cook and we don't stray far from these reliable dishes; limited funds and lack of time further limit our imaginations and can cause us to simply reach for the nearest ready meal or takeaway. Read the full article here

9 April 2015: Register to vote or you might lose more than you think by Gail Bowen-Huggett, ACFA: The Advice Network

Never mind the forthcoming General Election on May 7, do you know that if you're not on the electoral roll, it can affect your ability to get credit? Read the full article here

25 March 2015: Disability benefits – could you be missing out? by Tom Bidmead, WRAMAS

There are lots of people in the Bristol area who have a long-term health condition or disability, but who for one reason or another are not claiming the benefits to which they are entitled. Read the full article here

12 March 2015: The Personal Support Unit can help you through family court proceedings by Paul Bryson, Bristol PSU

The experience of attending court can be extremely upsetting even if you are able to have a legal representative with you. If you are unlucky enough to be unable to afford representation and your issue is not covered by legal aid you may well have to attend on your own: this can change upsetting to terrifying, especially if you have no experience of the justice system. Read the full article here

5 February 2015: Random acts of kindness can lift spirits in Bristol – and keep your resolutions on track by Claire Charras, WECIL

February has arrived. Time to check if your New Year's Resolutions have fizzled out. If they have, you're not alone; according to only eight per cent of people manage to achieve them. Read the full article here

27 November 2014: 5 Simple Steps to help you enjoy a debt-free Christmas by Katherine Tanko, North Bristol Advice Centre

The festive season is almost upon us but don’t be tempted by sparkling window displays and penguin-themed adverts to go mad on the spending. Follow our 5 handy tips to have a great Christmas without facing a debt hangover in January! Read the full article here

30 October 2014: Get ready for winter: stay warm and save money by Rhianne Cotterill, Talking Money

The clocks have gone back but the nights are still drawing in … winter is on its way so now it’s time to start thinking about keeping warm when the weather turns cold - it’s vital to protect your health. Read the full article here

16 October 2014: School Admissions – Advice for Parents by Ann Vink, Bristol Citizens Advice

Now is the time to start applying for school places for next year – September 2015. Choices can be limited, competition for certain schools can be fierce and the process can seem daunting (especially if it’s your first time), so here are some hints and tips to help you cope. Read the full article here

15 September 2014: Are you starting work for the first time? by Gail Bowen-Huggett, ACFA: The Advice Network

No matter what your first job is, the first day at work is a nerve-racking experience: new people, new rules and a new environment. In some ways, just like being back at school but now there’s no hiding at the back of the class! Read the full article here

13 August 2014: Grab a FREE lunch for the Kids and SAVE nearly £400! by Haylee Cowley, Pennywise Project

Holidays, new uniforms, childcare, food, food and yet more food. It often seems like spending on kids is endless. Read the full article here

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