CAB AND RELATE LAUNCH COMMUNITY HUB

On Friday 10th of July Citizens Advice Aylesbury & District and Relate Mid Thames & Bucks launched their new Community Hub for people who live and/or work in the District of Aylesbury. The ribbon was cut by comedian and Relate patron Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Rich Wiltshire, CEO of Citizens Advice: Aylesbury & District said, “Being able to share these premises with other local charities increases the level of support and advice we can give to those in need. We are very excited by the opportunities the Hub will provide’.

Fiona Paine, Centre Director for RELATE Mid Thames & Bucks said “ our new location on Pebble Lane offers a lovely calm and relaxing space where we can welcome people needing counselling services. The aim of the Hub is to create a group of organisations with a common purpose to support and help our local community”.

This is the beginning of a new way of charities working together. A Community Hub is just what our service users in Aylesbury need and will ultimately benefit from.

For more information about Relate’s services – www.relatemtb.co.uk

TRUSTEES RAISE MONEY AT THEIR ANNUAL SPRING DINNER

In May the Trustees held their fundraising Spring Dinner, with as guest speaker The Right Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons and our very active local MP. Thanks to the County Council for use of the exceptional Judges Lodgings facilities just off Aylesbury’s main Square. The Spring Dinner was a great success, not only providing an enjoyable event for local supporters and Trustees, but also raising a substantial sum which goes towards the running of our Bureau.

BUDGET BRUNCHES AT ELMHURST ADULT LEARNING CENTRE TUESDAY 14TH APRIL

As part of the ATLAS project, the Buckinghamshire CABs and Bucks Adult Learning have joined together to put on some money management courses across the county.

The next workshop in Aylesbury will be at the Elmhurst Adult Learning Centre on Dunsham Lane. There will be a raffle, free refreshments as well as workshops on how to manage your money and how to prepare healthy meals on a budget.

The cost is only £4 per person and you can find out more information by clicking on the link below

Budget Brunches Elmhurst CAB2

ACAB STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS JOIN THE ROTARY CLUB OF AYLESBURY ON THEIR ANNUAL CAROL FLOAT

A group of Staff and Volunteers from Aylesbury Citizens Advice Bureau joined the Rotary Club of Aylesbury on their annual Carol Float on Tuesday the 9th of December.

The float travelled around Southcourt spreading a little Christmas joy and collecting money for various local charities, including the bureau. Despite the cold, and slightly wet, weather everyone had a great time and were amazed by the generosity of the Southcourt residents.

ACAB Chief Officer, Rich Wiltshire, said: “It was a really great evening and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was great to see so many children excited about seeing Father Christmas outside their house. We would like to thank the Rotary Club of Aylesbury for all their hard work in organising this event every year.”

You can find out more about the Rotary Club of Aylesbury by following the link below

http://aylesburyrotarynews.blogspot.co.uk/

FAIR PLAY FOR PRE-PAY

Fair play for prepay campaignprepay

Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer watchdog for energy customers. We are running a national campaign, to get a fairer deal for energy customers with a prepayment meter.

What’s the issue?

  • Prepayment meter users too often receive poor service, lack of innovation and lack of choice, but generally pay more for their energy than direct debit customers.
  • Lack of competition and fewer tariffs to switch to.
  • Prepayment users often face problems managing their energy use, which do not affect credit customers, eg lost or faulty keys or metering equipment and risk of self-disconnection (16 per cent of users).
  • Lack of convenient places to top up and limited innovation in top up methods – most pay with cash at shops or post offices.
  • Vulnerable prepayment users sometimes miss out on financial support. The Warm Homes Discount (WHD) is sent out by suppliers by cheque.

What do we want?

  • better customer service and support with easier top-ups;
  • a fair choice of tariffs in line with other payment methods;
  • a smarter prepay offer that works for consumers.

To support this campaign please sign the petition at the following link

http://bit.ly/prepaypetition

There is also a prepay top-ups survey available to complete

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L2BRZDW

BIG ENERGY SAVING WEEK – 20TH OCTOBER

The week beginning 20 October 2014 marks the fourth Big Energy Saving Week; a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.

We are able to offer appointments during this week for clients who would like information on how to check that they are on the best energy deal and how to switch to another energy supplier.

We can also give advice on extra help with fuel costs that may be available and also what you can do to better insulate your home and check to see if there are any grants you may be eligible for to make your home more energy efficient.

Appointments can be made directly with Aylesbury CAB.  If you are on low income, a pensioner or disabled and feel an appointment would be useful please call on 01296 329854 and ask to book an Energy appointment.

Please note that if you book an Energy appointment then advice on separate issues cannot be offered at this appointment – it is purely to look at your energy issues.

Please bring along a copy of your most recent energy bill.

You can fin d out more about Big Energy Saving Week by clicking the link below

http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/besw

NEW OUTREACH TO OPEN AT THE ACORN CENTRE AT THOMAS HICKMAN SCHOOL

As of the 7th of October 2014 We will be offering a new outreach service at The Acorn Centre at the Thomas Hickman School in Quarrendon.

This service will run every other Tuesday morning and is available to all parents in the catchment area of the Thomas Hickman School, even if your child is not yet of school age.

Appointments are available for;

  • Debt – advising on debt options available and help you manage your debts
  • Benefit queries – including explaining benefit entitlement and form filling eg DLA, PIP and ESA applications.
  • Help with issues with – DWP, Council Tax, Housing Benefit office, HMRC, etc.
  • And also help with issues including employment, housing, relationship, consumer and basic immigration advice.

To book an appointment or for more details please contact The Acorn Centre directly on (01296)485683

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2014

At our AGM on 22nd July we celebrated a successful 2013/14 from which the Bureau emerged stronger than ever. Linda Walton, our Chair, summarised our key achievements:

  • Maintaining excellent service to our clients through a period during which a number of long-standing colleagues moved on to other charity roles or into retirement
  • Positive engagement with all sponsors
  • Gaining the support of Buckingham and Wycombe Bureau during our changes and as a result working ever more collaboratively with them
  • Turning around our financial performance and strengthening our balance sheet

Linda passed on her thanks to the supporters of the Bureau who have enabled continued service delivery and growth with fewer resources, in particular:

  • Our volunteers and staff, including those who left us during the year after many years of excellent support
  • AVDC for their continued commitment to the Bureau
  • Our other funders, in particular Thomas Hickman and William Harding Trusts
  • Buckingham and Wycombe Bureaux teams, and the Citizens Advice liaison office Lucy Bartlett
  • And our new Chief Officer, Rich Wiltshire who is already making an impact after only three months

As we enter 2014/15 Rich and the team are continuing to innovate. The biggest change has been a new approach to supporting our clients: to avoid long waiting times we now first help all clients via the phone and book a specific appointment slot at the Bureau if necessary, rather than asking them to queue at the Bureau. Feedback has been good and the new approach has bedded down even better than expected.

We also now have a new website. It has a fresh design, it is much lower cost to run, and it can be updated in hours rather than weeks. You will be able to keep in touch with all the latest developments here and through our Twitter and Facebook pages.

What lies ahead for us ?

  •  In September we have the Citizens Advice formal audit for which the team are well prepared
  • We are growing our volunteer numbers to handle the increasing demand for our services and to equip us to bid for new projects, building on the increased Supervisory capacity we have recently invested in
  • We will continue to collaborate with our fellow Citizens Advice Bureaux in Buckinghamshire but also other charities across the County to improve our services
  • We will work with funders and supporters in coming months to establish a strategy to sustain services in the face of tightening financial constraints 2015-2020

Formalities of the AGM included presenting the financial statements for 2013/14, and the reappointment of trustees, who continue their voluntary support for the Bureau via their work on the board.

If you have any questions or comments please do contact us via email to admin@aylesburycab.org.uk

SPONSORED WALK RAISES OVER £1000 FOR AYLESBURY CAB

On Sunday 22nd of June 2014 3 Trustees from Aylesbury CAB, with help from family & friends, raised over £1000 for the bureau by walking 17 miles through the Chiltern hills. In stark contrast to previous walks the weather was fantastic and all enjoyed the experience whilst raising some much needed funds for the bureau.

Aylesbury CAB is an independent, local charity (registered no. 1126825). We rely on the support of individuals, businesses, local government and other organisations.

You can help support the Aylesbury and District CAB by making a donation through Virgin Moneygiving or by having a look at the donations page of our new website by clicking here

Some trustees taking a quick break on their 17 mile walk