We recently met with the Scrutiny & Overview Committee at Guildford Borough Council to discuss the use of food banks in Ash. We produced a report which indicates that there are many different reasons for requesting a food parcel – but that the underlying problem is generally a low income. Health issues are also often a contributing factor. The Scrutiny Committee is looking at food bank use in the whole of the Guildford borough, and seeking to understand the underlying reasons for food bank use.
We have been following the cost of renting private accommodation in Ash for some time. We look at all properties available for private renting over a specific period, and analyse how much it costs to rent a 1 bedroom property, 2 bedroom property etc. We then compare these costs to the maximum amount of rent that can be covered by Housing Benefit (this maximum amount is known as the Local Housing Allowance rate). Unsurprisingly, the amount of Local Housing Allowance does not reflect the cost of rental property in the area. We are campaigning to update the rates of Local Housing Allowance, and presented our latest report to the Guildford Borough Council Scrutiny & Overview Committee.
June is Scams Awareness month, when Citizens Advice and three other organisations (National Trading Standards, Chartered Trading Standards Institute, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) highlight the various types of scams that are current. These include:
Scams can happen to anyone – but did you know that only 5% – 15% of all scams are currently reported?
Citizens Advice is encouraging anyone who has been scammed to report it – so that more effective action against the scammers can be taken.
You can report a suspected scam to Action Fraud at 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk
You can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 and they can pass details on to Trading Standards.
We have a display board of common scams and what action you can take to protect yourself (and others) on our noticeboard in the waiting room at Citizens Advice Ash, at the rear of the Ash Centre in Ash Hill Road, Ash.
After many months of preparation, we are launching a pilot of our Moneyfit course at the Sure Start Centre at Ash Grange in June. The course runs on a Thursday morning for 2 hours each week, and will cover topics such as “What influences our spending” and “Making a money plan”. We will also explore different types of credit, and basic information on different types of debt and what happens if you don’t pay what you owe.
We are grateful to the local Co-op in Ash, which has chosen citizens Advice Ash as one of its community projects this year.