Help Available for You

 Help

 

A - Z of Help



Whilst I'll try my best to help the following organisations may be able to offer the help you need:

Advice

Turn2us

Turn2us, the 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

Advocacy

POhWER - Community Advocacy Service in Bedfordshire

We offer free, confidential and independent advocacy services to help people understand their rights, be treated as equals and be heard. The service is available to people in Bedfordshire who are over the age of 18 and use health/community services.

Tel: 0300 456 2362. Email: pohwer@pohwer.net. Website: www.pohwer.net

Age

Age UK Bedfordshire


Age UK 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.ageuk.org.uk/bedfordshire

Armed Forces

SSAFA Bedfordshire Branch - Lifelong support for our Armed Forces and their families

Our purpose is to provide lifelong support to forces and ex-forces men or women and their wives, husband, partners, families and other dependants, whenever they need friendship, advice or assistance, at any time from day their service starts and for the rest of their lives. Any form of service qualifies including National Service and, subject to slightly different qualifying service, the reserves. The lifetime eligibility for help continues for widows and widowers, after divorce, for people seperated from established partnerships, and for children and other dependants.

Tel: 01525 875071. Email: Bedfordshire@ssafa.org.uk. Address: SSAFA Bedfordshire Branch, PO Box 4504, Dunstable, LU6 9PS

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

Cancer

Macmillan Welfare Rights Service

Macmillan Welfare Rights provides a free, confidential, benefits advice service to cancer patients, and to their carers and families.

Central Bedfordshire Council working together with Bedford Borough Council, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support are delivering this service. Welfare rights advisers assist people living in Bedfordshire (excluding Luton) who are affected by cancer, including families and carers, to claim welfare benefits. They will provide advice and assistance to claim the whole range of benefits, including help to complete claim forms. They can provide a referral service for people affected by cancer who have debts etc and can deliver talks and training to health professionals, social workers, carers groups etc.

Contact details - Tel: 0300 300 8145. Email: anne.furlong@centralbedfordshire.gcsx.gov.uk

Macmillan Grants

Macmillan grants are available to pay for one-off emergencies or to make life more comfortable foe someone with a cancer diagnosis who has incurred extra expenses. Claims have been awarded to help towards: 

  • Travel costs
  • Extra fuel bill expenses
  • Clothing
  • Recliner chairs
  • Beds and bedding
  • Stairlifts
  • Dentures
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Laptop computers and televisions
  • Car Repairs
  • Legal bills
  • Convalescence
  • Washing machines and cookers

A typical amount requested is £250

Contact details - Tel: 0300 300 8145. Email: anne.furlong@centralbedfordshire.gcsx.gov.uk  

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 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 Counselling 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.gov.uk/mortgage-rescue-scheme/overview. 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.

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.

Food Aid

Bedfordshire Food Aid Network

The Bedfordshire Food Aid Network is a working group of local food parcel providers. The network is managed by Preen CIC (based at Bigglewade). They can provide 3 day food parcels (more if required) to help local people in severe financial hardship or coping with an emergency.

To get a food parcel you need to be referred by one of the many support agencies (both statutory and voluntary organisations, for example Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau) working in this area. If you don't have a support worker, or benefits adviser you can either ask Central Beds Council to refer you or contact Preen on 0844 99 343 99 or at info@preencic.org and they will give you details of someone who can help.
The Food Aid Network relies on the donations from local schools, churches ,individuals, shops and companies. If you wish to donate food or set up a donation point please see our information here.

Learn more at www.reusematters.com/aboutbfan.html
 

Furniture & Appliances for those in Need

Preen CIC

Supported Membership for elderly and low income customers

Supported Membership is a discount scheme for elderly and low income customers. You pay less for used furniture and appliances and can access additional support from Preen. Supported Membership is free but you must provide proof that you're eligible, there are a number of means-tested benefits that will allow you to access the lower prices:

  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

In Addition anyone over 70 can automatically become a Supported Member.

Emergency Help


Various agencies can refer vulnerable or emergency-need clients directly to Preen. When this happens the person in dire need can access emergency help and lower prices on furniture and household items. Examples of those in dire need include those fleeing domestic violence, those needing emergency housing, the long-term homeless or simply the destitute. You must be referred to Preen by one of a number of  agencies (as you cannot self-refer). Speak to your case-worker, jobcentre+ agent, Central Beds Council or Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau for further information on the process.

Learn more at www.reusematters.com/supportedmembership.html

Good Neighbour or Village Schemes

Good Neighbour or Village Schemes are voluntary groups that provide links between those residents needing help and those who are willing to offer it. These groups act as safety nets for all residents, young and old. Using local volunteers these schemes build on existing help already provided in the communities and also fill gaps in that provision.

Your local schemes in the Ampthill Ward are:

  • Ampthill & District Good Neighbours (covering Ampthill, Maulden and Millbrook) - Ring: 07833 314 903
  • Clophill Community Care (covering Clophill) - Ring: 07791 773 705

Their volunteers can help you with the following if you are in need:

  • Shopping / Running Errands
  • Doctor / Hospital / Clinic Appointments 
  • Collecting Prescriptions       
  • Outings 
  • Longer Journeys     
  • Small jobs (e.g.. changing light bulbs) 
  • Moving furniture      
  • Carrying out emergency minor repairs          
  • Occasional light housework  
  • Dog walking/other pet care (e.g.. during holidays/illness)       
  • Cooking/preparing emergency meals and snacks          
  • Filling in forms (non legal)  
  • Sitting with someone     
  • Writing letters            
  • Delivering a meal   
  • Befriending regularly       
  • Gardening

Always give them plenty of notice of the help you require.

Ampthill & District Good Neighbours have a website at www.ampthillgoodneighbours.info
 

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.

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

Social Services

Central Bedfordshire Council provide statutory social services for the residents of our communities, including Adult Social Care, Safeguarding Adults and support for Carers.  

Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ. Telephone: 0300 300 8000. Email: customer.services@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk