Advice sessions for the Somali community

A series of workshops preparing for changes to the benefits system

11 June 2015

Energy Advisor Yusuf Salah has been running workshops in Somali to prepare people for the change to universal credit – a single monthly payment for people on a low income, or out of work, that replaces six existing benefits. The series of ten workshops is well underway and around 40 people have been advised over the first five sessions.

Based on the feedback from the attendees, Yusuf said "people were not aware of the scale of the changes beforehand, and the impact this will have on their finances. They've found the training particularly useful as preparation for the budgeting they'll need to do to make a monthly payment last".

The sessions, funded by Wessex Water, have been hosted in diverse and accessible locations, including council flat meeting rooms, the family centre in Easton, a Somali restaurant and a Somali shopping centre in Barton Hill.

Participants learn about universal credit, the monthly payment system (accompanied by a budgeting exercise), how to change from a prepayment to a credit meter, discounts available on water bills and getting a water meter installed. And to help save energy and water at home, and reduce bills, each attendee is offered advice leaflets, a water saving kit and a CFL light bulb.

Home visits are also an option for anyone who’d like further support with follow-up actions, such as budgeting, setting up a bank account, contacting the fuel or water supplier or changing to a credit meter.

If you, or any of your clients, are intersted in attending one of our future workshops, please contact Lisa – call 0117 934 1402 or email lisa.evans@cse.org.uk.

Also useful for Somali speakers are our energy advice videos, recorded in Somali and subtitled in English. Watch the videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/csebristol.

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