Climate Emergency

Yn Cymraeg

There is a clear scientific consensus that the world faces a climate emergency. This emergency has the clear potential to adversely effect the living conditions, health and general well-being of the residents of Gwynedd and therefore goes to the heart of our charitable objectives.

It is therefore appropriate for us to publicise this emergency so that individuals and organisations are aware of the importance of taking action and take what steps we can to minimise the carbon footprint of the charity itself.

Citizens Advice manifesto for the next government

Am fersiwn Cymraeg cliciwch yma

In this general election, Citizens Advice is calling for all political parties to take action on the issues that matter to people’s lives, so that fewer people face the same problems in the future.

The key asks are:

  • Make the benefits system work for everyone
  • Help people recover from debt
  • Provide security for people in their jobs and homes
  • Make sure essential services meet the needs of all consumers
  • Protect consumers in the energy market – now and in the future

Click below to download the document.

Gwynedd Citizens Advice Celebrates Funding Announcement

Am fersiwn Cymraeg cliciwch yma.

Citizens Advice Gwynedd were joined by Welsh Government Deputy Minister, Jane Hutt, to celebrate the charity being awarded funding by the Welsh Government to provide advice services. 

The charity in Wales will receive £8.1 million to provide services across all regions in Wales, as well as a remote advice service. It comes after Welsh Government changed the way they commission advice services in Wales, with organisations having to bid to provide the Single Advice Fund. 

The commitment of future funding comes as the organisation marks its 80th year. Citizens Advice was formed on the onset of World War II on 4 September 1939. It originally helped people deal with the impacts of war, such as rationing and evacuation, and additional support for farming communities. 

In the year to 30 September 2019, Citizens Advice helped nearly 12,500 people in Gwynedd and nearly 100,000 people in Wales with Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit and council tax debt being some of the top issues the charity provided advice on. 

Tal Michael, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Gwynedd, said: 

“We’re delighted to welcome the Deputy Minister here to Pwllheli to see our services first hand. Access to good advice is vital for everyone. We’re really proud to have secured this funding. 

“There’s a huge demand for our independent and impartial advice as people face ever increasingly complex issues in their lives. 

“We’re keen to now put this funding into action and provide advice to anyone in Gwynedd who needs it, whatever their problem.” 

80 years of advising

Am fersiwn Cymraeg cliciwch yma

Since 4 September 1939, the day after World War II started, we have been giving people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are and whatever their problem.

You can read ‘Voices of Wales: 80 Years of Advice’  which explores our work across Wales since 1939 here.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to our service – to find out more about our service in Gwynedd click here or if you would like to contribute click here.

Sad news

Our former chair, Eve Butler, passed away peacefully on Saturday evening at home with her family, after a brave fight with lung cancer. Eve had been associated with Citizens Advice for over 40 years.

Her funeral will be held on Wednesday 11th September 12.30 at Bangor Cathedral and 1.30 at Bangor Crematorium.

Could you be a Trustee?

Cymraeg

Cyngor ar Bopeth Gwynedd Citizens Advice (CAB Gwynedd) is seeking up to three new trustees to join its Board. Citizens Advice aims to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives. Our network consists of almost 300 separate charities across England & Wales working together to this end. As a Trustee of the Gwynedd charity, you will actively contribute to setting policy and strategic direction, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance.

We would particularly welcome candidates who would improve the diversity of the Board.

If you think you could contribute read on to find out more and to get the application form.

Main duties and responsibilities for Trustees

The CAB Gwynedd Board usually meets once per quarter on a Tuesday evening. In addition Trustees attend the Annual General Meeting in the autumn (usually a Friday afternoon) and a Forum meeting in the spring (to build a shared understanding with staff and volunteers). The role is entirely voluntary although expenses will be reimbursed. Staff and volunteers in Bureau cannot serve as Trustees although a staff representative and a volunteer representative attend meetings. There is also an opportunity to participate in meetings of the wider network in Wales and across England & Wales. Training is provided.

Each individual member of the Trustee Board has a responsibility to contribute to the discharging of the board’s duties. They can do this by:

  • maintaining an awareness of the business of the charity
  • taking responsibility for their own learning and development
  • regularly attending, preparing for and taking a full part in meetings
  • actively contributing to setting policy and strategic direction, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance
  • monitoring whether the service complies with its governing document, whether it meets Citizens Advice standards and how well the advice needs of the local community are being met
  • monitoring the financial position of the bureau and ensuring that it operates within its means and objects, and that there are clear lines of accountability for day-to-day financial management
  • supporting the development of the bureau through participation in agreed projects
  • actively seeking to further the strategic objectives of the bureau, and acting in the best interests of the bureau at all times
  • maintaining confidentiality about any sensitive or confidential information received in the course of duties as a trustee.

Personal skills and qualities for Trustees

Each individual member of the trustee board brings skills and qualities to the board. They add to the collective knowledge and experience by providing:

1)  commitment and availability to attend trustee board meetings

2)  effective communication skills and willingness to participate actively in discussion

3)  willingness to gain knowledge of local needs and resources

4)  commitment to the aims, principles and policies of the Citizens Advice service, including those relating to equal opportunities, independence, and research and campaigns

5)  willingness and ability to act in the best interests of the bureau

6)  ability to understand and accept their responsibilities and liabilities as trustees and employers

7)  willingness to participate in democratic process which develops Citizens Advice policies by area and nationally

8)  numeracy to the extent required to understand Citizens Advice accounts with the support of a treasurer

9)   willingness and ability to learn, and to develop and examine their own attitudes

10)   ability to think creatively and strategically, and exercise good, independent judgement

11)   ability to work effectively as a member of a team.

The following would also be beneficial:

12)  financial qualifications or experience

13)  some experience or knowledge of charity finance and fundraising

14)  the skills to analyse proposals and examine their financial consequences

We would particularly welcome candidates who would improve the diversity of the Board.

Successful candidates will serve for three years but may be reappointed.

You will need to confirm that you are not disqualified from being a trustee – the reasons for disqualification are set out in Annex A. If one of the disqualification reasons does apply, you may be able to apply for a waiver from the Charity Commission which will allow you to act as a trustee. 

General information about being a Trustee for a local Citizens Advice

Application Form (PDF)

Application Form (Word)

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form (PDF)

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form (Word)

Please return the completed application form and equal opportunities monitoring form to admin@cabgwynedd.wales.

Scam on bankrupts

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Citizens Advice has been contacted by the Insolvency Service regarding bankrupts being targeted by scammers.

Bankrupts are receiving letters or phone calls from Baddebtor.co.uk, apparently as a result of public information from The Gazette, asking them to pay a fee if they want the record of their bankruptcy removed from the scammers portals such as;

  • Bad Debtor Platform,
  • Local Newspapers,
  • Facebook,
  • LinkedIn,
  • Supplier Database,
  • Local banks,
  • Credit Agencies,
  • Social Network Portals.

They use the Insolvency Service’s online adjudicator’s reference, from the Gazette, which appears to make them believable. Adjudicators are going to warn people but if anyone comes across this can they report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 so that consumer complaints are available to Trading Standards.

National Hate Crime Awareness Week

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This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week

Spread love not hate is the message being spread this week across North Wales.

Communities in North Wales need to come together to tackle all forms of hate crime, as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week which begins on 13th October 2018. Gwynedd Citizens Advice will be promoting ways on how to report Hate Crime by talking to groups in the community.

Hate Crime is on the rise and needs to be stopped. Crimes committed against someone because of their age, religion, gender identity, disability and sexual orientation are all Hate Crimes. It is important people can identify what a Hate Crime is and how to report it so that it can be stopped.

Gwynedd Citizens Advice can assist with helping people report Hate Crimes and help with identifying what Hate Crime is.

Tal Michael, CEO of Gwynedd Citizens Advice said:

‘If you witness any Hate Crime please report it. It is vital that Hate Crimes are reported to put an end to Hate Crime. North Wales is a place open for everyone no matter who they are and where they come from. This campaign is a fabulous opportunity to promote how Hate Crime can be reported and most importantly identifying when Hate Crime happens’

Hate Crime can also be reported to Stop Hate UK

Phone: 0800 138 1625 
Text: 07717 989 025 
Email: talk@stophateuk.org
Web Chat: www.stophateuk.org/talk
Text Relay, for the deaf and hearing / speech impaired callers: 18001 0800 138 1625

PIP problems top the list of benefit issues reported to Local Citizens Advice

“Don’t struggle in silence”, says local Citizens Advice in North Wales

Our network of local Citizens Advice in North Wales helped over 4,400 people with problems related to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) last year.

PIP is a benefit that helps people to meet the extra costs of being disabled or having a long term health condition. For example it allows them to employ a carer who can help them get washed and dressed in the mornings, or to have a mobility scooter so they can travel to work.

Most people who contacted us across North Wales about PIP wanted help to:

● Make a claim or check their eligibility
● Challenge the outcome of their assessment decision
● Take their appeal to tribunal

In one example, Citizens Advice helped a man with multiple long-term health conditions who after moving from DLA to PIP, was receiving less benefit. He contacted the charity for assistance with a PIP appeal where it was also worked out he was entitled to Pension Credit. Citizens Advice helped him make the claim which helped to ease the burden of the reduction in the disability benefit.

As detailed in the report, in total last year, Citizens Advice Wales helped more than 100,000 people resolve their problems. PIP problems were the most common advice issue for the charity with 17,000 people seeking its help.

The top three issues reported to local Citizens Advice in North Wales in 2017/18 were:

1. Benefits and tax credits – 14,854
2. Debt – 7,261
3. Employment – 3,385

Fran Targett, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru, said:

“No one else sees so many people with so many different kinds of problems and that gives us unique insight into the challenges people are facing today.”

“A wrong PIP assessment decision can lead to people missing out on the everyday support they need. The daily reality of living with a disability can often be overlooked during the PIP assessment so it’s important that people know they can try to overturn this decision by asking for a reconsideration or appealing their case at tribunal.”

“Don’t struggle in silence. The Welsh Government currently funds quality-assured, specialist welfare benefit advice across Wales and we’re here to help.”

“Anyone who wants to make a PIP appeal, or has a more general query about the benefit, should contact their local Citizens Advice to understand their next steps.”

Background

Our network of Local Citizens Advice in North Wales cover the local authority areas of Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.

The charities run face-to-face sessions, as well as a phone helpline to make it easier for people to access its free and impartial advice service.

Anyone in Gwynedd requiring advice or support can contact the local Adviceline on 0345 450 3064.

It is also possible to get help online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or find their local Citizens Advice office.

There is also a dedicated phone line for consumer issues on 03454 04 05 06. For Welsh speaking advisers dial 03454 04 05 05.