Green Homes Grant Scheme is now open

The Green Homes Grant gives homeowners in England vouchers to help cover the cost of energy efficient improvements to their home – such as low carbon heating systems, insulation or double glazing to replace single glazing.

For most, the vouchers will be worth about two-thirds of the cost of the energy efficient improvements, up to a maximum of £5,000 per household.  If you are a private tenant your landlord can apply.

However, if you’re on a low income or certain benefits, you can get vouchers of up to £10,000 to cover the entire cost of installing the measures. (Homeowners only)

Qualifying benefits: income-based/contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-based/contribution-based employment and support allowance, income support, pension ‘guarantee’ credit, working tax credit, child tax credit, universal credit, disability living allowance, personal independence payment, attendance allowance, carer’s allowance, severe disablement allowance, industrial injuries disablement benefit and housing benefit.

Vouchers must be used to install at least one primary home insulation, (solid wall, under floor, cavity wall, loft, flat roof, room in roof), or low carbon heating measure.

If you install at least 1 of these, your voucher can also be used to help cover the cost of any of the following secondary measures: draught proofing, double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazed windows), secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing), external energy efficient doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002), heating controls or hot water tank thermostats and insulation. This can only be up to the same value as the primary measure.

All work must be completed within 6 months (by the end of March 2021) so if you want to take advantage of this scheme you need to do so as soon as possible.

There is now a Government website where you can find all the infomation and apply for a Green Homes Grant

Simple Energy Advice has lots of information as well as tools to help you check eligibility and find accredited tradespeople:  www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk   Or you can call them on 0800 444202.

Alternatively, if you want to chat to Valerie about this – call 0748 3333 115 or email valerie@caringtogether.org.uk

Free Pop-up Shops at Hyde Park Book Club this weekend

https://www.facebook.com/CommunityActionWaste are organising free pop-up shops at https://www.facebook.com/hydeparkbookclub on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th September 11am – 3pm.

REDUCE & REUSE
Come down to our Free Shop to pick up all your uni/household essentials! We have:
🌳 Kitchenware
🌳 Electric heaters
🌳 Vintage second-hand clothes
🌳 Decorations

Absolutely everyone is welcome to come and we will have covid-safe procedures in place.

 

The Little Book of Big Scams

Alongside the weekly scams news alert, the latest edition of the The Little Book of BIG Scams is now available to download  from West Yorkshire Trading Standards website

What are the most prevalent scams? How to spot them and stay safe!

Originally written by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cyber Crime Unit, and reproduced with their kind permission, the book provides a comprehensive break down of the different types of scams and frauds. It also gives hints and tips about how someone can reduce their chances or those of a loved one, of being a victim and what to do if they do are targeted by criminals.

Changes to free TV Licences

TV Licensing logo

I’m sure you will have heard the news that free TV licences for all those aged 75 or over will come to an end on 1st August.  This was initially going to happen on 1st June this year but was extended due to lockdown.

This means that you won’t automatically be entitled to free TV licence once you reach the age of 75.  If you receive Pension Credit you will still be able to apply for a free TV licence.

You should be entitled to Pension Credit if you have income of less than £173.75 for a single person or £265.20 for a couple. Benefits checkers such as Turn2us can help you work out if you are entitled to this or other benefits.  If you think you eligible and don’t already receive it you can apply online at gov.uk Pension Credit or on the Pension Credit Claim Line 0800 99 1234.

If you already have a free over 75 licence you will be covered until 31 July 2020. You don’t need to do anything just yet. TV licensing will be writing to all free over 75 licence holders soon to let you know how you may be affected and what you will need to do next.  You do not need to make any payments until you have received this letter.

If you do need to pay for your licence after August, please take extra care to make sure you are paying the correct people.  There are a number of scams circulating around TV licence payments and these are likely to increase at this time.  There is some useful information about avoiding and reporting TV Licence scams on their website here

If you are 75 and get Pension Credit, you won’t get your free licence automatically, you will need to apply for it.  You can apply now if you wish but TV licensing say  there is plenty of time and you don’t have to rush to do it.

More information about all of the changes, including how to apply for a free licence is on The TV Licensing website.  It should also be in the letter they send to you.

If you want some help or advice  about applying for a free TV Licence or about Pension Credit  (or both), please contact Valerie at Caring Together and we can work through it together to see what you are entitled to and to help you apply

 

Cash machine scam – warning to be vigilant

West Yorkshire Police are asking residents of Headingley and Hyde Park to be vigilant when the withdrawing cash from local ATM machines. Four camera devices have been found in the past few weeks attached to ATM machines in these  areas. These carefully disguised devices are fixed above the cash machines and video record users inputting codes into the machine through a pin hole camera. This information is later used to defraud the customer. West Yorkshire Police are investigating these incidents and ask for any suspicious devices or behaviour around cash machines to be reported to us immediately.

University PC Mark Bottomley gives the following advice:

Always cover the keypad when entering your PIN with your hand.

If you notice anything unusual, odd or different about the machine or there are signs of tampering; do not use it, report it to the bank immediately and don’t let others use the machine.

If your cash or cards get trapped within the machine, report it to the bank immediately.

Stand close to the machine to avoid prying eyes over your shoulder and challenge anyone stood too close to you.

Don’t let any strangers distract you when at the ATM.

Always put your cash and card away before leaving the cash machine and never leave a receipt behind.

Finally always check your bank statements, fraudsters often will use low value transactions in an attempt to hide their thefts over a long period of time. Immediately notify your card company if something appears wrong.”

Red Nose Day – and a thank you from us!

comic_relief_logo

Today is Red Nose Day – the major fundraising event for Comic Relief.

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day, every two years, when people across the land can get together and do something funny for money at home, school and work.

There’s a fantastic night of TV on the BBC, with comedy and entertainment to inspire the nation to give generously.

Comic Relief spends the money raised by Red Nose Day to help people living tough lives across the UK and Africa.

Here at Caring Together we have been fortunate enough to receive funding from Comic Relief on several occasions over the years and we have been very grateful for this support that has helped us with various aspects of our work with older people in Woodhouse & Little London.

So today, we would like to say a big thank you and wish them well with today’s fundraising

Pay as You Feel at Woodhouse tomorrow

6-bigThe Pay as You Feel Cafe is at Woodhouse Community Centre again tomorrow.  From lunchtime onwards.

Come along for a nice meal – we don’t know what it will be but it’s sure to be delicious! The cost is very reasonable as it is whatever you feel you can pay.

Also today at the Pay as You Feel Cafe in Armley there will be a Knit & Natter group at 4.30pm and a ‘Waste Food Feast’ from 7pm.  Details on their Facebook page

Dealing with Debt

moneyDebt is a major issue for many older people. This may be because of helping children and grandchildren financially, divorce or separation, or simply the rising cost of living, particularly in terms of food and energy costs.

For many people debt can be a cause of, or add to, terrible feelings of anxiety and depression, ill health and family breakdown as people feel trapped, and can affect lives very badly.

If you are in debt it’s very important not to ignore it. If you leave it, it will get worse. But you can get help – there is a lot of free support available both locally and further afield. With the right help you will be able to look at the following issues:

  • Which are the most important debts to pay (priority debts)
  • Whether you have any ‘debts’ that you shouldn’t be paying at all. (Perhaps you were pressurised into signing a loan agreement).
  • What could you afford to pay? (People you owe money to may have to accept a lot less than they are demanding).
  • How to make the most of any savings you have.
  • Whether you can raise money in any other way.

You don’t have to tackle debt alone – you can get help.  Talk to Caring Together – we can help you look at your income and benefits etc to help make sure you are getting all the money you are entitled to, or refer you for further benefits advice if needed.  We can also help you look at your outgoings and advise you, or refer you to the WYTS Safer project advisor, who has helped a number of our members.

Joining a credit union is a good way of saving and borrowing money without running up massive debts – Leeds Credit Union 0113 242 3343

Other help and advice:

National Debtline  0808 808 4000

StepChange Debt Charity  0800 138 1111

Money Advice Service  0300 500 5000

Debt Advice Foundation  0800 043 4050

Leeds CAB 0844 477 4788