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Inspired Living making your area a great place to live

JANUARY 2013

First residents move into new homes It’s all smiles in Oldham as the first five families recently moved into their new homes on Dew Way.

All residents were also invited to a ‘meet and greet’ event, held at the OBA Millennium Centre, where they had the chance to meet their new neighbours, as well as staff from Great Places, Wates Living Space and Oldham Council. We hope that everyone is now settling into their new lives in Oldham. For more information, stay tuned to Inspired Living to find out what activities are going on in the community, or get in touch with Great Places on 0300 123 2003.

FUN FUN FUN at Oldham festive parties Families across the Oldham PFI area enjoyed festive parties recently, with lots of fun along the way. Local children were entertained by face painters, balloon modellers, games, as well as plenty of festive food to get their teeth into. All parties ended with a visit from a very special guest... Father Christmas and his elves. A big thank you to everyone that helped to make all the parties a success.


C I T S I K C O L TDOHN’TELEC O Y E K A T S E G N A H C T BENEFIT Y

ou’ll have been bombarded with information on the Welfare Reform Act lately but it’s really important that you read and listen to everything because the changes the government is making in April will affect many of you on benefits. Inspired Living talks you through them.

What is the bedroom tax?

Who makes the decisions?

The bedroom tax is a government initiative, and not something introduced by Great Places. The change means that housing benefit will be cut if you’re seen to have more bedrooms than you need. For example, if you’re a single tenant living in a four-bedroom house, you may currently be getting your full rent paid by housing benefit – but as of next April, this will no longer be the case. Even if you use every bedroom in the house, you may still be classed as under-occupying. In many cases, brothers and sisters will be expected to share.

Your council’s housing benefit department will make the decision.

THE CHANGES IN A NUTSHELL • If you have two children under 10, you’ll be assessed as only needing one bedroom for them. • The same assessment will be made if you have two children of the same sex under 16. • You’ll need to pay 14% of the total rent if you have one spare bedroom – for example, if your weekly rent is £85 you’d have to pay £11.90 extra a week.

Who will it affect? Everyone of working age on full or partial housing benefit. Disabled people and those who foster are not exempt. If you have reached pension credit age, you won’t be affected. This is going up every year, but in April 2013 it will be anyone over 61 years and six months. People with fair rent tenancies and those in shared ownership properties will not be affected.

• You’ll need to pay 25% of the total rent if you have two spare bedrooms, so based on that same weekly figure of £85, you’d have to pay £21.25 extra a week. • You’re allowed one spare room for an overnight carer, but they can’t be a family member. • Students in temporary accommodation can still have a bedroom if your home is their permanent residence. • Only the parent who claims child benefit for the child can claim their bedroom entitlement.

“Downsizing was a quick and painless process for us. It only took about 10 weeks from start to finish... and it saved us a fortune!” Look out for our Bedroom Tax newsletter. All those affected will receive a questionnaire asking how they intend to pay their rent and whether they want to move to a smaller property. Please help us by filling it in! If we don’t contact you, and you think you will be affected, please ring us on 0300 123 2003 or email oldhampfi@greatplaces.org.uk


!ISE G IY N K C OU B SURPR

WHAT WILL YOUR BENEFITS COVER? SINGLE ADULT OVER THE AGE OF 16: ONE BEDROOM ADULT COUPLE: ONE BEDROOM PARENT(S) WITH SINGLE CHILD: TWO BEDROOMS PARENT(S) WITH TWO CHILDREN OF SAME SEX UNDER 16: TWO BEDROOMS PARENT(S) WITH TWO CHILDREN OF EACH SEX UNDER 10: TWO BEDROOMS

The Stuart family have saved a lot of money on bills since they downsized

PARENT(S) WITH TWO CHILDREN OF EACH SEX AGED 10-16: THREE BEDROOMS

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SAVE MONEY? If you do have to pay the bedroom tax, we have lots of ideas on how you can make savings elsewhere to cover the costs. Here are just a few of them... • It may be possible to take in a lodger, but you must ask Great Places for permission first, and any income from a lodger may affect benefits. • If you borrow from a credit union, you could save around £4-£5 per week on a £500 loan. Visit www. abcul.org.uk to find your nearest credit union • You can switch your energy

THE GOVERNMENT’S

WELFARE REFORM

&

BEDROOM TAX HOW WILL YOU BE AFFECTED?

FOR INFORMATION & ADVICE CONTACT OUR CUSTOMER ACCESS TEAM 0300 123 1966 (option 3)

OTHER THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW! The government is cutting council tax benefit. From April 2013, if you get all or any part of your council tax paid, and you are between 16 – 61 years of age, it’s likely that you’ll have to pay something towards your council tax. Each council will have different amounts, so you should check with

1x 1x 2x 2x 2x 3x supplier(s), which can save you on average £4 per week. • Budget properly – just thinking about what you spend your cash on and writing it down can save a lot. • Great Places has a good value home contents insurance scheme which covers all the items in your house and is a lot cheaper than insuring items individually. Great Places has a team who can help you to make the most of your money – call 0300 123 2003, email financialinclusionteam@greatplaces. org.uk, or call in to one of our drop-ins: Primrose Bank – last Monday of the month, 10am to 12pm, Crossley – last Tuesday of the month, 10am – 12pm. your local council tax department to find out how much you will have to pay. From April 2013 you will NOT be able to apply to the Job Centre for a Community Care Grant, Budgeting Loan, or Crisis Loan. Instead, you will have to apply to your local council for help. BUT your council will have less money and may only provide support for basic items.


What’s on!

Mystery shopping meeting Tuesday 15 January, 2pm. Venue to be confirmed.

ONE LESS WORRY

Saviour’s Church off Denton Lane. Dew Way drop in Monday 28 January, 3pm at the site office.

W

e offer many ways to pay your rent, but paying by direct debit is by far the easiest.

It saves you time Modern life is hectic Primrose Bank kerbside clean up – but direct debits Wednesday 16 January from help. They take away Crossley estate walkabout much of the hassle of 9am to 1pm. Please use this Tuesday 29 January, meet paying bills and put an opportunity to get rid of any outside Kent Avenue shops at end to queuing at the bulky household items that you 10am. bank and filling out no longer need. Look out for the cheques. They make it flyer with more information. Crossley kerbside clean up easier for you stay on Wednesday 30 January from 9am top of bills and you’ll Primrose Bank estate forum to 1pm. know exactly how Monday 21 January, 10.30am at much money is going the Primrose Bank Tenants Hall Primrose Bank estate walkabout out each month. (please note new time). Thursday 31 January, meet We use a company outside the Tenants Hall at 10am. called Allpay who collect Crossley estate forum your rent payment on Thursday 24 January, 7pm at St any working day of the month to fit around Your local councillor contact details you. Ateeque Ur-Rehman Chadderton It’s guaranteed ateeque.urrehman@oldham.gov. Susan Dearden Direct debit uk susan.dearden@oldham.gov.uk payments come Colin Mclaren - 0161 627 4197 with a guarantee so colin.mclaren@oldham.gov.uk Police contact details they’re automatically Eddie Moores - 07765 402 484 Oldham West protected by three cllr.e.moores@oldham.gov.uk Mike Quarmby - 0161 856 8927 important safeguards: michael.quarmby@gmp.police Werneth or email oldhamwest.npt@gmp. • An immediate Shoab Akhtar - 0161 287 2005 money back police.uk shoab.akhtar@oldham.gov.uk guarantee in the Fida Hussain - 0161 626 5263 event of an error Chadderton fida.hussain@oldham.gov.uk • Advance notice PCSO Tony Bowker - 0161 856 Javid Iqbal - 0161 345 7637 if the date or 8825 javid.iqbal@oldham.gov.uk tony.bowker@gmp.police.uk amount changes or chadderton.npt@gmp.police. • The right to Medlock Vale uk cancel at any time Kaiser Rehman - 0161 652 4444

cllr.k.rehman@oldham.gov.uk Yasmin Toor - 0161 770 4013 yasmin.toor@oldham.gov.uk

8am to 6pm Mon-Fri

Urdu

For more information, call our customer access team on 0300 123 2003

For any non emergency please ring 101.

It’s easy to get in touch... Bangla

It gives peace of mind Direct debit is one of the safest and most reassuring ways of paying bills. • Payments are made automatically so bills are never forgotten, lost in the post or delayed by postal problems, and there’s no risk of late payment charges • Organisations using the direct debit scheme have to pass a careful vetting process, and are closely monitored by the banking industry • The Direct Debit Guarantee protects you and your money

call 0300 123 2003 text 07797 870 731 oldhampfi@greatplaces.org.uk


Inspired Living Jan 2013