Speak out to stop scams from spreading, says Dacorum CAB

Dacorum District Citizens Advice Bureau is calling on residents in the borough to expose scams and help stop more people from falling prey to clever cons that fleece them of thousands of pounds.

Scams Awareness Month launches on 1 July and will be highlighting how scams continue to flourish when people stay silent. Figures show that less than 5% of victims report scams to the authorities, and Dacorum CAB is encouraging residents to report suspicious activities, get advice if they think they’ve been conned, and to warn others to help stop scams from spreading.

Continue reading

Pension Wise Appointments available at Dacorum CAB

Citizens Advice is delivering Pension Wise appointments at their Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted offices giving people access to free and impartial pension guidance in their local area.

Following pension reforms on April 6, people approaching retirement have greater freedom over how they can use their pension pots. People will be able to take a lump sum, take out an annuity or a mixture of both. Pension Wise is a new Government service designed to help people make sense of their pension options, and empower them to make the right choices for them.

Free face to face Pension Wise appointments are available to book now at both Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted. The 45 minute appointments will be tailored to the individual, taking into account the value of their pension and their plans for retirement.

A Pension Wise appointment may help you if:

• You are approaching retirement or are 55 or over
• Have a defined contribution pension
• Are thinking of accessing your pension in the next six months

Guidance appointments are also available on the telephone, delivered by the Pensions Advisory Service. People can also get information and general guidance online at www.pensionwise.gov.uk.

Victoria MacGregor, Chief Executive of Dacorum Citizens Advice said:
“Citizens Advice will be delivering Pension Wise appointments from our offices in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted giving easy access to Pension Wise.’’

“Pensions can be a confusing topic and Pension Wise appointments will help people to make sense of their pensions choices. Our Bureau already helps people with retirement issues and we’ll continue to offer this service outside of Pension Wise.”

To book a telephone or face to face appointment, call 0300 330 1001.

Synergy Dacorum: One Year On and Looking Forward

On 1 October 2014 Synergy Dacorum reached the milestone of one year of the Partnership’s work helping local people access the advice and support they need under the Big Lottery Advice Service Transition Project.

Over the first year, a total of 271 unique clients were advised by two or more partner organisations under the referral scheme. In addition, the Big Lottery-funded specialist housing advice and specialist benefits support appointment slots in the Dacorum Citizens Advice Bureau enabled a further 225 people to be supported during the first year, achieving a total of 496 people who have benefitted directly from the project.

During this period, the Specialist Housing Adviser was been able to intervene in clients’ cases to recoup £33,445.61 for Dacorum clients in rents and deposits owed.

The real value of providing advice in this ‘joined-up’ way has been reflected in the outcomes and case studies of the people we have been able to help.

The Synergy project has also strengthened the network between the partner organisations, building knowledge and allowing us to demonstrate externally the importance of our work as a partnership.

Synergy Dacorum has grown over the year: from the initial 12 organisations, our Partnership now consists of 20 local agencies working together to support the residents of Dacorum.

We are now working on a strategy to review, maintain and integrate Synergy Dacorum beyond the end of September 2015 so that referring people for advice and support in this way continues to be the accepted and natural approach to improving the experience of local people who need advice.

Volunteers wanted for Dacorum District Citizens Advice Bureau

The Dacorum District Citizens Advice Bureau are looking for new volunteers. The Bureau will be holding a Coffee and Pastries Open Morning on Friday 21st November 10.00am to 12.00 at their offices in Hillfield Road, Hemel Hempstead. The invitation is open to anyone who would like to know more about volunteering at the CAB.
Continue reading

August 2014: Synergy Dacorum Moves into its Second Year

Synergy Dacorum, a Big Lottery funded project bringing together 13 advice agencies to offer a more joined up approach to giving people help and support, is now moving into its second year – and it’s growing.  

The project – led by the Dacorum District Citizens Advice Bureau – has been developed for those who need help in a wide range of areas including benefits, debt, housing, relationship issues, mental health or addiction problems and more.

Since it was launched last November, over 250 local people have been guided through to get the specialist advice and support they need more effectively and without simply being ‘signposted’ and having to repeat their story over again.

Along with the CAB, the original 12 Synergy Dacorum partners are; Carers in Hertfordshire, Dacorum Community Trust, DENS in Dacorum, Volunteer Centre Dacorum, Relate Dacorum, Three Rivers and Watford, Druglink, Age UK Dacorum, Dacorum Local Partnership of Schools, Community Action Dacourm, Mediation Hertfordshire, Herts Mind Network and Dacorum Borough Council.

Dacorum District CAB boss Victoria MacGregor said: “I am really excited about the success of the Synergy Dacorum project in its first year. We are meeting our key objective of bringing together specialists in the many advice agencies within our area and offering genuinely joined-up support to local people for the issues they face.

A key goal for all the partners in this project has been that the more vulnerable members of our community should be able to access all of the advice services they need more easily – and we are seeing this happening.

With this in mind I am very pleased to welcome on board three new partner organisations who are joining Synergy Dacorum this year: The Salvation Army, The Centre in the Park and Dacorum Mencap.

We all recognise the fantastic work of these organisations and we really value their participation in Synergy Dacorum. All of us involved in the partnership are continuing to work to improve our services and explore new ways in which our project can make a real difference to people’s lives – and to enable the Synergy process to continue beyond the end of the Lottery project.”

29 November 2013: Synergy Dacorum Launched!

This week marked the launch of an exciting new project led by Dacorum District Citizens Advice Bureau (DDCAB) and funded by The Big Lottery. Called Synergy Dacorum, the new project is aimed at helping local residents access the help and support they need more easily.

Synergy Dacorum brings together 12 local advice agencies into one easy to access process. It has been developed for local residents who need help or advice in any of a wide range of areas including welfare benefits, debt, housing and relationship or addiction problems to name but a few.

Dacorum District Citizens Advice Bureau will act as lead organisation and aim to create a seamless referral system between advice organisations. This will ensure that individuals are referred to the most appropriate support agency more quickly, avoiding duplication and reducing stress.

Dacorum District CAB CEO Victoria MacGregor explains, “Our key objective with Synergy Dacorum is to bring together specialists in the many advice agencies within our area and offer joined-up support to local people for the issues they face. A key goal for all the partners in this project is that the more vulnerable members of our community should be able to access all of the advice services they need more easily, and without having to repeat their story over and over. This seamless, interagency support should also mean that people stick with the process and actually achieve a better outcome more quickly.”

Hemel Today Article 29 November 2013