Feeling Disadvantaged?

 

Then this page may provide some help!

Contents

Advice | AgeBereavementCarersDebtDisabilityEmployment | Financial Worries Saving & BorrowingSaving Energy CostsSaving Money | Sight Impairment


 Help is at Hand

In this time of 'economic downturn' and 'credit crunch' this page aims to signpost you to resources that may help you in these uncertain times:

Advice 

Turn2us

Turn2us, the new independent charity that helps people access the money available to them - through welfare benefits, grants and other help. Our free, accessible website is a comprehensive and invaluable resource that helps you find sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on your particular needs and circumstances. In some cases, you can make online enquiries to grant-giving charities listed on the site. Website: www.turn2us.org.uk

Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from over 3,200 locations, of which the office based in the old Magistrate's Court along Woburn Street in Ampthill is one, as part of Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau. Find out more by visiting www.midbedscab.org.uk.

Adviceguide - this is the main public information service of Citizens Advice, providing people with round-the-clock access to CAB information on their rights - including benefits, housing and employment, and on debt, consumer and legal issues. The site aims to empower people by providing them with the information they need to solve their own problems and to signpost them to appropriate advice when necessary. Adviceguide helps you to have a better understanding of your rights and entitlements, and also to take the first steps in resolving your problems. (The information in this website is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice about what action to take, please contact an advisor or solicitor). Website: www.adviceguide.org.uk

EntitledTo

EntitledTo provides free calculators to help you work out your entitlement to benefits and tax credits. The Entitlement Calculator tells you what you could claim in Pension Credit, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit and more. Website: www.entitledto.co.uk

Age

Age Concern Bedfordshire

Age Concern Bedfordshire is a charity working with and for all older people in the county. Our range of services includes:

  • Information & Advice
  • Home Help
  • Handyperson
  • Insurance Products
  • Clubs
  • Development Work
  • A Link Service

Tel. 01234 360510. Website: www.ageconcernbeds.com

Bereavement

Cruse Bedfordshire

Cruse Bedfordshire offers support and counselling to bereaved people in Bedfordshire. For counselling help please telephone: Mid Beds: 01767 312997. Admin: Tel. No. 01525 841415. Website: www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk

Registration of death: Ampthill: The Court House, Woburn Street, Ampthill, Beds, MK45 2HX. Tel: (01234) 290450

Carers 

Carers UK

Carers UK is the voice of carers. Carers provide unpaid care by looking after ill, frail or disabled family members, friends or partners. Carers give so much to society & Carers UK recognises the true value of a carer's contribution to society and gives advice on where carers can get practical, financial and emotional support. CarersLine: 0808 808 7777 CarersLine is Carers UK's free advice line for carers. Website: www.carersuk.org

Carers Short Breaks Bureau

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity operate the Carers Short Breaks Bureau, which supports the unpaid carer by enabling them to take a break from caring by providing them with vouchers to exchange with professional care agencies. They also provide a carers helpline. Additionally, home visits can be arranged if necessary. Beds Rural Communities Charity, The free phone 0800 039 1234 (The bureau is staffed Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm with a 24 hour answer phone). Website: www.bedsrcc.org.uk

Carers in Bedfordshire

Carers in Bedfordshire is a not-for-profit Registered Charity for all family carers and run by carers. They also offer a 24 hour support line for all family carers with an out of hours direct link to the Social Services Emergency Duty Team. Working to prevent today's carers becoming tomorrow's cared for. Website: www.carersinbeds.co.uk

Debt

The Debt Advice Foundation

Debt Advice Foundation is a registered national debt advice and education charity offering free, confidential support and advice to anyone worried about loans, credit and debt. Because we're a debt charity, you can be sure that the advice we provide is impartial and based solely on what is best for you.

If you have a debt problem, Debt Advice Foundation can help you understand which options are available to you and will recommend the debt solution that is right for your situation. Our aim is to help you regain control of your finances by: 

  • Reducing monthly repayments to an realistic and affordable level
  • Stopping creditors taking enforcement action against you
  • Protecting important assets such as your home

If you are struggling to keep up with credit card, loan or debt consolidation repayments, have arrears or are facing legal action from lenders as a result of being unable to repay your unsecured or secured debts, our debt helpline advisors are standing by waiting to help. 

We advise on the full range of debt solutions including Bankruptcy, Debt Relief Orders, Free Debt Management Plans, IVAs, Trust Deeds, LILAs, Debt Arrangement Scheme, Administration Orders and Debt Consolidation.

If you require debt help or you need to talk to someone in confidence about your options, there's no need to wait or book an appointment, our free debt advice helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm on 0800 043 40 50.

On the website you will have free access to a range of tools and practical guides on how to manage money effectively, budget and negotiate directly with creditors. The charity's Self help tools section includes:

  • Budget Planner
  • Debt Analyser
  • Benefit Entitlement Checker
  • Money Management Guide

The charity's popular online Personal Debt Analyser at www.debtadvicefoundation.org/personal-debt-analyser  is a a unique tool will allow you to take stock of your current financial situation and give you advice on how to negotiate directly with your creditors. It automatically calculates how much you have available at the end of each month (after priority payments and essential living costs have been accounted for) and produces an individual statement of affairs and personalised letters for your creditors.

All this can be found at www.debtadvicefoundation.org/

National Debtline

The helpline that provides free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. Call the National Debtline free on: 0808 808 4000 (Monday - Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9.30am-1pm). Website: www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

On their website you can:

  • Download an information pack to deal with your debt problems.
  • Use their personal budget section to work out what repayments you can afford.
  • Use their suite of sample letters to write to your creditors.
  • Visit their debt advice section to get information that may help you deal with your debt problem.
  • Access their library of factsheets.
  • See if you can pay your debts via a Debt Management Plan (DMP)

The Consumer Credit Councelling Service

This is a registered charity that offers free counselling and debt advice and can help get you back in control of your money or your life. Visit www.cccs.co.uk or call free on 0800 138 1111 to speak to a debt counsellor.

Credit Action

This is a national money education charity that will help you with your debts. Visit www.creditaction.org.uk or call free on 0800 138 1111.

Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau - see above under Advice

Mortgage Help

Facing the prospect of repossession can be frightening, but it's important to remember that you are not alone. There is a lot of help available from government, from lenders and from advice agencies. The information here will give you the tools you need to prevent your home being repossessed. Indeed you can create your action plan by answering a few simple questions or you can you can go straight to a general action plan to see the simple steps you can take to help you keep your home, and find out the help that's available to you. Website: www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp. Call the National Debtline free on 0808 808 4000. Visit: Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau.

Disablity

Disability Resource Centre

The Centre is a focal point for disability services throughout Bedfordshire. Their aims are:·

  • To enable disabled people and their carers to have easy access to the information and equipment they required to live independently
  • To encourage the involvement of disabled people in the provision of services
  • To promote awareness of the needs of disabled people
  • To encourage collaborative services for disabled people

Poynters House, Poynters Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 4TP. Tel: 01582 470900. Website: www.drcbeds.co.uk

Employment

Whether you are employed or not it is worth your while registering your details and CV on the following websites:

You can also visit the Job Centre online and search for jobs:

 

Financial Worries

Elizabeth Finn Care

Elizabeth Finn Care is a leading national grant-giving charity dedicated specifically to helping those affected by poverty in the UK. Last year their grants totalled over £4m in the UK and supported 3100 beneficiaries nationwide; however only 0.6% of these beneficiaries come from Bedfordshire. Therefore the charity is looking to help more people in Bedfordshire. 

Elizabeth Finn Care can help British and Irish Citizens, who are 18 years or older and come from one of over a hundred listed occupational backgrounds. They can offer help in terms of ongoing weekly allowances, one-off assistance towards an exceptional item, an annual extra-needs gift or signposting to other sources of assistance. 

If you know of anyone wh0 might need help, contact Lucy McKay on 0845 6035517 or at lucy.mckay@elizabethfinncare.org.uk. More details at www.elizabethfinncare.org.uk.

Elizabeth Finn Care is also behind Turn2Us (www.turn2us.org.uk) the information website that provides details of 750+ grant-making charities and State benefits specific to individual needs.

Saving & Borrowing

Join Your Local Credit Union - Bedford Credit Union

Credit unions aim to help you take control of your money by encouraging you to save what you can, and borrow only what you can afford to repay. They are community savings and loan cooperatives, where members pool their savings to lend to one another and help to run the credit union. Credit unions have become more popular in recent years. Members run credit unions in a not-for-profit way. This means they use their money to run their services and reward their members, not to pay outside shareholders. They must set aside enough money each year to ensure they don't go bust. They use any leftover money to: provide better services to members; or usually share evenly among savings accounts (called paying a 'dividend'). Credit unions can't lend all their members' savings or invest the remaining money in risky ventures. Instead they must put it into bank deposit accounts and the most reliable investments, such as government bonds. This ensures they can get the money back if they need to.

Why choose a credit union?

  • A credit union may suit you if:
  • you want the flexibility to save what you can, when you can;
  • you prefer a local cooperative that does not need to make profits for outside shareholders; or
  • for any reason you are having difficulty opening an account with a high-street bank or building society.

Joining a credit union

A credit union can help you get your finances under control. They may be more willing to help you than a high-street bank or building society if you have a low income, or do not have a previous record of borrowing. They:

  • encourage people to save on a regular basis - weekly, fortnightly or monthly;
  • accept small amounts;
  • are willing to lend small amounts; and
  • agree to loans based on how able you are to repay them and how much you need.

Saving with a Credit Union

You can pay money into your account in several ways:

  • at local collection points;
  • direct from your wages via payroll deductions (if your employer has an arrangement with a local credit union to collect such payments);
  • by standing order or direct debit; or
  • if you receive State benefits, by having them paid into your credit union account.

Borrowing

Bedford Credit Union will lend to you after you have shown them you are able to save regularly.

Contact Bedford Credit Union for more information:

6 St Paul's Square, Bedford, MK40 1SQ. Tel: 01234 346352. Email: bedcu@tiscali.co.uk. Website: www.bedfordcreditunion.org.uk

 

Saving Energy Costs

USwitch

If you are looking to reduce the cost of your gas and electricity bills, www.uswitch.com makes the process quick and easy.

Cheapest Utility Suppliers

Find the cheapest utility supplier from this site by visiting www.cheapest-utility-suppliers.co.uk.

Saving Money

Money-Saving Expert

Money-saving expert Martin Lewis's website of the same name has been hailed king of money-saving websites. It has a huge raft of tips that can be sent directly to your e-mail inbox. Website: www.moneysavingexpert.com.

Cost Comparison

Free

Money Saving Vouchers

Sight Impairment

Bedford & District Audio News (incorporating Ampthill & Flitwick Talking Newspaper)

The object of the charity is to relieve the blind, or the partially sighted, or those labouring under some temporary or permanent incapacity or disability which makes reading a strain, by the provision of recorded tapes, or CDs or tactile reading matter. To this end, the local newspapers are recorded on a 60 min cassette each week and sent out free of charge to some 60 listeners. Mailing is free, courtesy of Royal Mail 'Articles for the blind' service. Tel 01234 216370. Website: www.bdan.org.uk

Sight Concern Bedfordshire

Sight Concern Bedfordshire is the county's leading serviceproviding Voluntary organisation for blind and partially sighted people and operates from offices in Luton and Bedford. Address: 116 Bromham Road, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK40 2RN. Tel: 01234311555. Website: www.sightconcern.org.uk