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Citizens Advice North Herts Summer 2023 Newsletter

Welcome to the Citizens Advice North Herts Summer 2023 Newsletter

This issue we feature another Q&A with one of our volunteers and let you know the top 5 scams you should be looking out for. 

April to June in Numbers

Over the last 3 months, the top 3 issues people contacted us for were:

Benefits, Housing and Debt

Recent Client Feedback

New Contact Centre Launched in Baldock Library

fb post Baldock Library
Baldock Library a board
baldock library banner

We are really happy to announce that we now have an information drop-in service in Baldock Library.

The library is located at Simpson Drive in Baldock.

The drop-in service sessions are held every Wednesday morning, between 10.30 am and 12 noon.

Although we are not able to provide a full advice service in this location we can help clients who need help accessing our services, and offer information and signposting.

Research and Campaigns

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Hitchin MP Visit

Our team recently spent an hour with Hitchin MP Bim Afolami updating him on the issues we are seeing and how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting local people. Issues discussed included lack of affordable housing, welfare benefits, energy costs, debt, and the increasing impact of negative budgets.

Scams Awareness 

 

Five scams you should be on the lookout for…

1. Fake text messages and emails, known as ‘friend-in-need scams’

There’s been an increase in the number of people receiving messages claiming to be from their relatives/children, asking them to reply on a new number before requesting money.

If you get one of these messages — be suspicious. Don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. It’s okay to take your time, and if someone is pressuring you to send money or personal details then it’s most likely a scam.

Try and contact your relative/child directly on a known number, or ask them to share a voice note, to confirm if the message is genuine. Only consider the request if you’ve done these checks and are 100% sure the request is from someone you know and trust.

 

2. Home Improvement scams

We’ve seen a number of people being scammed when booking home improvements this year.

If you’re being pressured to pay upfront for work, or the company you’re working with is adding on additional costs before completing the work, it might be a scam.

Find out more on how to avoid home improvement scams here.

 

3. Online shopping scams

Watch out for fake adverts when shopping online. If you spot something you want to buy, make sure you protect yourself by:

  • Read reviews from different websites
  • Find the company’s details on Companies House
  • Look at their terms and conditions
  • Pay by debit or credit card

 

4. Used car scams

When purchasing a car, avoid scammers by doing the following:

  • Looking for an established firm with a good reputation, and links to a trade association (for example, the Retail Motor Industry Federation or the Scottish Motor Trade Association)
  • Check the car’s history. These checks are simple, don’t take long and don’t cost much
  • Inspect the car and take a test drive
  • Avoid purchasing via auction or through Facebook Marketplace — they offer less protection if something goes wrong.

 

5. Financial scams

If you’re contacted for an investment opportunity unexpectedly by email or social media, it could be a scam.

If you’re not sure about a financial opportunity you’re being offered, get advice from a trusted source and don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. It’s okay to take your time.

Never give money or personal details, like passwords or bank details, or transfer cash to someone you don’t know or have only met online.

 

We aim to:

  • Give people skills to identify scams
  • Encourage people to share their experiences
  • Help people gain the confidence to report scams

 

If you’d like us to deliver a talk on scams awareness to a local group then please email us: communications@nhdcab.org.uk

Fundraising News

Save the Date!

save the date

 

Friday 13th October

Music Quiz Fundraiser

At Knights Templar School Hall with your Quiz Master Simon Bennett

Our last 2 Music Quizzes were a great success and a lot of fun so we do hope you will be able to join us. 

Please save the date!

We would also welcome raffle prize donations.

All money raised will go to support our vital generalist advice service.

Successful Go the Extra Mile Fundraising Walk

Go the Extra Mile Fundraising Walk

On Sunday 14th May, around 30 members of staff, volunteers and local people walked 8 miles around the beautiful North Herts countryside, to raise money to help support our advice services. We are so grateful to everyone who took part and also to those who gave up their time to help with marshalling and of course to everyone who donated. We raised over £3,000 and had a brilliant day!

beth and friends finish

Our amazing staff and volunteers are working flat out to help people struggling in our community, but we know there are many more people who need our help. 

We need your support so that we can be here for those who need us.

As a local charity we rely on funding and donations to keep our services going so we can continue providing vital support to our community. Times are really tough right now and there are so many people who need our help – our services are stretched to the limit. 

Visit our JustGiving Page

buyusacoffee

Volunteer for Us

What roles are available?

At Citizens Advice North Herts, you can volunteer in various roles; adviser, receptionist, administrator, fundraiser, community champion to name but a few.

Volunteering can take many forms, including some you might not have considered! Recently Ash donated a busking session to us! They raised over £100. 

ash nursery

Why volunteer?

Connecting with people from all walks of life, whether that’s your fellow volunteers or the people you are helping in the community. This is just one of the reasons why people choose to give up their time and volunteer. 

current vacancies

 

This week everyone was invited to take a couple of hours out of the office and come together to enjoy a summer picnic.  

group 2 group 3 group 4

The social side is great, but there’s so much more to gain from volunteering. Everyone has skills to share, and volunteering gives the perfect opportunity to develop these further, and even learn new ones. The knock-on effect of this can be improved confidence, and possibly boosting employment prospects.

Combine all these, and it’s easy to see why volunteering is a great way to help improve your wellbeing, mentally and physically

Interested in finding out more?

Get in touch with Sacha Colman our Volunteering Coordinator.

volunteering@nhdcab.org.uk  01462 688000.

Volunteer Q & A

Martin Tuck

Meet Martin Tuck, Volunteer Generalist Adviser.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself 

A: I live in Buntingford, and am retired. I enjoy gardening, allotmenting, cycling, learning to play the piano, and holidaying with my wife. 

Q: Why did you decide to volunteer with CANH?

A: I wanted to give something back to the community and being retired I now have the time to do this. 

Q: How often do you volunteer? 

A: Two mornings a week

Q: What does your typical day volunteering involve?

A: I currently answer calls from clients who have contacted CANH using the ‘Adviceline’.

I listen to the issues raised then speak to my Advice Team Leader who will advise me on the best advice
to give. Then I speak to the client and often email them helpful links.

Finally I record details on
the Citizens Advice casebook IT system following consent from the client. I work remotely from home but at some point may start working from the Letchworth and Royston offices. 

Q: What have you got out of volunteering with CANH?

A: Nearly all the clients are extremely grateful for the advice I give. It makes me feel good to
think I have helped someone move forwards with a problem.

Listening to clients and finding out what issues they have is a fascinating intellectual challenge which I thoroughly enjoy.

Some clients are dealing with horrible life situations that makes me appreciate how fortunate
I am. So I gain perhaps a better perspective on society? Finally the fellow advisers and team
leaders are all great fun to work with. I do feel extremely appreciated as a volunteer. 

Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering?

A: Give it a go! You do not need to be highly knowledgeable and through training plus
experience you will gain confidence in giving advice. The team round you are excellent in giving you support.

Q: To relax and unwind I………

A: Visit the greenhouse or allotment. Plants don’t talk back……………..

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter! We hope you’ve enjoyed it. We welcome feedback and if you have any questions, please send an email to us at communications@nhdcab.org.uk

Finally, a big thank you to all of our funders and stakeholders for always supporting us!

 

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Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire is an independent, local charity reliant on raising our own funds to carry out our work to improve the lives of residents in North Hertfordshire and parts of South Cambridgeshire. 

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Free Advice Line:

0800 144 88 48

The number above is for the Hertfordshire Citizens Advice Line.   Opening hours are 10 am to 9 pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 am to 8 pm Thursday and Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday.

If you would like to contact Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire directly please call us on 01462 689801 and leave a message.

Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire local number:

01462 689801

Use the number above to call the Citizens Advice North Hertfordshire. You will reach an answerphone – please leave a message and we aim to respond within 3 working days. 

If you would like advice over the phone you can call the National Citizens Adviceline on 0800 144 88 48