Welcome to our first newsletter of 2022.
PWCAC has managed to keep its doors open to clients for face to face appointments throughout the last two years unless legally instructed to close. This has been an extraordinary achievement and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our dedicated volunteers. It is our belief that, in order to provide a consistent and comprehensive level of
high quality advice, we need to see our clients in person. Many of our clients are vulnerable
and find the struggle of managing their daily lives overwhelming. Many are not computer
literate and require our help to fill in the many forms they are confronted with. The Institute
of Money Advisers has recorded that “a quarter of clients find at least some online tasks
difficult to complete, and one in 20 never do anything online.” The forms that we have
completed with clients can be as diverse as a Blue Badge form, application for disability
benefits, homeless applications, divorce papers and witness statements for child court orders.
We have seen an increase in clients with mental health issues. We continue to give them as
much support as we can. We are submitting fewer appeals to the first tier welfare benefit tribunal as we are having a greater success at the Mandatory Reconsideration stage. The Appeals are still being held over the telephone with PWCAC in attendance with the client. We have won 5 out of 5 appeals this financial year and at the Mandatory Reconsideration stage we have submitted 20 requests to the DWP and have had 13 replies with 10 being successful for our clients.
As we all know, the cost of living is rising. We have started to see the financial impact of the substantial rise of energy costs on our clients. Ofgem have reported that “The energy price
cap will increase from 1 April for approximately 22 million customers. Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year (difference due to rounding). Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.” PWCAC will advise our clients on what extra help they may be eligible for. We will also provide debt and budgeting advice; however, it is hard to see how the most vulnerable will be able to cope; especially those on prepayment meters which are already set to recover an amount of money each week to repay any debt on the account.
On a less gloomy note, here are some comments that we have received recently from our
“Thank you so much and I would just like to say thank you for your help this morning. It was
such a weight off my shoulders you were very kind and your advice was spot on”
“Thank you for your help with my issues. It is so nice to be able to talk to a person who understands the problem.”
“I would like to thank all those staff (which I think is pretty much every one of you at some point!) who have given me so much help with my PIP claim and for possible continued help, I am so grateful.”
As we approach our 10th year anniversary, we would like to thank all our trustees, volunteer advisers, supporters, funders, referral partners and clients, without whom our achievements over the past decade would not have been possible.
We look forward to your continued support, so that we can maintain our service to the residents of Paddock Wood and surrounding areas.