Coping with Change is a new project being run by Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau until December 2018. The project is funded by a Reaching Communities grant from the Big Lottery Fund. Throughout its lifetime the project will be guided by a Steering Committee whose members will all be clients of Ipswich DAB.
The aim of the Coping with Change project is to support people with disabilities, their families and carers through the changes that they have facing, and will continue to face in the future. These include price increases and fewer employment opportunities resulting from the economic recession, Welfare Reforms resulting from government policies which, in the not too distant future, will include the need to make applications and manage accounts online whether they have access to a computer, and know how to use the internet, or not. Alongside this, many people have found that previous opportunities to get out of their homes are no longer available to them as day centres and clubs have closed, public transport has decreased and Dial-a-Ride services are increasingly used for medical appointments.
The changes have caused significant increases in anxiety and contributed to less healthy diets, increased isolation especially for people who do not have family living nearby, increased money worries and debt levels – just to mention a few of the impacts. The overall outcome for many will be a decline in health and wellbeing which in itself will result in them being less able to cope and move on in their lives.
New services and activities
Do you have a problem that is affecting your wellbeing?
- Do you have any worries about Housing or finding a new home through Gateway to Home Choice?
- Do you need help to find adaptations or disability aids?
- Do you know the information you need is available on the internet but need help searching on-line?
- Do you feel lonely or isolated and want to find a group to join?
We can help with any issue that may be affecting the quality of your life
Phone or pop in and ask for an appointment with our Wellbeing Adviser
Debt and Money Management
This is a service that we have wanted to provide for our clients for some time but have not had the resources to do, as budgeting priorities for a person with a disability can be different to people who do not have a disability.
Appointments to see a trained Adviser, who specialises in debt and money management, will be available on four days each week and our plan is that some of these will be at our office in Tower Street in Ipswich and others at outreach services that are more local to the people who need them. These may cover drawing up and planning a personal budget, dealing with debts of all kinds – benefit overpayments, rent arrears and repossession, gas, water and electricity bills, credit card payments etc.
In addition, we will be holding events from time to time to help people to understand the basics of budgeting and learn that old trick of ‘making a little go a long way’, to learn about Credit Unions and why they are a safer option when taking out a loan, healthy food shopping on a budget and identifying when a so-called bargain is not a bargain at all!
There will also be information and news items published on this website about debt and money management issues, with links to other helpful information.
Changes to Welfare Benefits and an online application and account
There has been a lot in the news about the government introducing Universal Credit to ‘replace’ a number of existing benefits and that this will have to be applied for online, or as the government calls it, ‘digital by default, as there will be no paper forms.
The current benefits that will be brought together as Universal Credit are:-
Child Tax Credit (CTC)
Working Tax Credit (WTC)
Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Income based Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA)
Income Support (IS)
Housing Benefit (HB)
The government is planning to make the only method of applying for these to be an online one using the internet and a computer. Once an application has been made, this will set up a person’s account and any changes to their details such as a change of address, or applications for further benefits, will also have to be made using the internet.
We carried out a survey carried which showed that 40 percent Ipswich DAB’s clients do not have access to a computer and 58 percent do not know how to use the internet. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FIND THESE CHANGES DIFFICULT. THEREFORE, YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN AND THROUGH THIS PROJECT WE WILL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SOME HELP.
THE GOOD NEWS IS – at present the only benefit from the list that has to be applied for online is Housing Benefit, so there is time to learn about the new way of applying, and the skills needed, a little bit at a time.
Activities and Events
Five years is a very long time and we have not planned all the events and activities that will take place. We would like people to make suggestions for new events and activities during that period.
However, ideas that have already come forward include advice on:-
Healthy Eating on a Budget – six practical sessions with the Women’s Institute including specialist advice on some aids to help with difficult jobs.
Armchair exercise classes – yes, keeping fit whilst sitting down, along with advice on how to keep as healthy as possible.
IT as a friend – how computers, access to the internet, iPads, tablets can help people with disabilities and how to stay safe when using them.
Drop-in – Ipswich DAB was originally set up as a drop-in. Meeting up with friends is a very good reason for getting out of the house. This would take place once a month.
– will usually last about a couple of hours and give advice on one particular topic.
Topics that have been suggested so far include:-
Healthy shopping on a budget
Benefit changes as they happen
Dealing with disability hate crime
Talking to your computer instead of typing (assistive technology exhibition)
IF YOU HAVE A SUGGESTION FOR A TOPIC THAT YOU WOULD LIKE US TO COVER, LET US KNOW.
The activities and events will take place at various locations, so look out for one near you.
Keeping a record
The Big Lottery Fund will want to know how we are spending the grant that they have given us as £263,838 is a lot of money, even if it has got to last for five years!
We will be recording what we do in two ways:-
Film channel and DVDs
The project will be filmed over the five years by a film crew from Alpha Films. They, along with the Ipswich DAB Webmaster, will then put these onto a film channel with a link from the Ipswich DAB website – our very own film series.
Also, during the third year of the project a DVD of the film clips to date will be produced and a further DVD will be produced as part of the final report at the end of the project.
Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau, in common with other disability advice providers in Suffolk, currently use a case management system called ReDial to record our work with our clients. Our current work is mostly on a one-to-one basis.
Unfortunately, ReDial will not allow us to provide information in the format required by the Big Lottery Fund, particularly for people coming to a group advice event. Therefore, part of our grant is funding a new database which will be developed to our specifications by Cross Software.
Therefore, lots of facts and figures to help the Steering Committee guide the project through the next five years.
WOW – we are going to be busy – so come and join us.
A new DEBT AND MONEY MANAGE SERVICE will be provided from 1 APRIL 2014.
A new post will be a job share between Liz and Jonathan. They are trained to work in this specialist area and have extensive experience which has been gain doing similar work in other organisations.
If you would think that they can help you, you can make an appointment by contacting us on 01473 217313.
Further information to follow
This new service is part of the Coping with Change project funded by the Big Lottery Fund.