Health & Wellbeing Event

Health & Wellbeing Event

We are delighted to be joining other charities and local organisations, exhibiting at the Newbury Street & Church Street Practices’ Health & Wellbeing Event.

Helping keep our community well in 2023 and beyond.

When: Saturday 22nd April 2023
Where: The Beacon, Wantage  12 – 4pm

Come and say “hello” to us on our VCI stand which will be located in the bar area, inside the Beacon venue!

There will also be entertainment on the stage, talks, workshops and other sessions taking place all over the Beacon, so please make sure you don’t miss anything.
Take a look at the Programme of events and be sure to come along and enjoy this event.

For more details head to their website:
OX12 Health and Wellbeing

Energy Bills Support Schemes

Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) is available for those who do not get the energy discount automatically.

We recognise that times are hard. If you are struggling to afford your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter, you might be able to claim benefits, grants and offered help by the government and energy suppliers.

Get a £400 energy discount from the government

The government is giving households £400 off their electricity bill. This is called the Energy Bills Support Scheme. You do not need to apply for this scheme and you do not have to pay it back. You will be contacted directly by your energy supplier.

You will receive £400 in 6 instalments starting from October 2022:

  • £66 in October and November
  • £67 in December, January, February & March

You’ll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card. For more information see the Gov.uk website: Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you do not get the energy discount automatically

Eligible households in Great Britain can apply for £400 of support under the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF).

The government has announced that you’ll still be able to get a £400 payment if you don’t have a contract with an energy supplier, for example if you live:

  • in a park home
  • in a care home
  • on a houseboat, mobile home or farm etc

You will still get support equivalent to £400 for your energy bills from the Energy Bills Support Scheme. The scheme is aimed at those without a direct relationship to an energy supplier, including self-funded care home residents and people living in park homes, as well as households who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off grid.

To check eligibility and apply, please search for “Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically” in the search bar on GOV.UK or search engine. Those who need additional support, or do not have internet access, can call a dedicated Government helpline on 0808 175 3287.

For further details, please see the Gov.uk website: Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

If you need help and support managing debt and personal budgeting, our advisors are here to help you. Book an appointment with a debt advisor on 01235 765348 or email help@vci.org.uk

Redeem Your Energy Voucher

Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) vouchers

People on traditional prepayment meters (PPMs) get their EBSS payments by voucher sent each month by their supplier. Vouchers expire after 90 days but people can ask their supplier to reissue them if lost, not received or expired. All vouchers must be redeemed by 30 June 2023. Some people might have got their discount via a Special Action Message. Many vouchers haven’t been redeemed – advisers have been asked to encourage people to act as soon as possible to redeem the vouchers.

Have you redeemed your voucher?

A number of vouchers have been issued by Energy Providers, but have not yet been redeemed. Please do check your post thoroughly. Vouchers will be issued from your Energy Provider and may look like a bill in a brown envelope. We urge you to open your post in case you have a voucher waiting to be claimed.

To find out what you are entitled to please read through the government website below:

Help with your energy bills

Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2023

We are pleased to announce our Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Vale Community Impact, Charity 1161144, will be held on Thursday, 23rd February 2023 and will commence at 4pm. Our AGM will be held virtually via a Microsoft Teams online meeting. Please let us know in advance if you would like to join our AGM by emailing help@vci.org.uk or telephone our team on 01235 355256. Alternatively, pop in and speak to one of the team at our office at 16, Market Place in Wantage.

We would be delighted if you can ‘virtually’ attend. The AGM meeting link and joining instructions will be provided when attendance has been confirmed.

If you have any questions in advance, please do contact us.

 

 

12 SCAMS of Christmas!

Don’t get caught out….scammers are getting personal.

Most of us have heard of someone who has received or been affected by a scammer. Scammers may contact you via email, text, phone call or via social media. They will often pretend to be someone (or an organisation) you trust. They are getting more personal and personal believable with their messages. Here in the Vale Community Trust’s Advice Centre in Wantage, we are troubled by how these scams are conning local people out of their much needed money. By imitating reputable police, banks, HMRC etc. or by impersonating family members, these messages are designed to trick even the hardiest amongst us. The Oxfordshire County Council have put together the above 12 SCAMS of Christmas, please do share this with your family and friends.

 

If you know anyone who has been affected by a scam please do get in contact with us, we are here for free advice and support.

 

How to spot a SCAM email, text, message or call:

Scammers try to quickly gain your trust. They aim to pressure you into acting without thinking.

If a message or call makes you suspicious, stop, break the contact, and consider the language it uses. Scams often feature one or more of these tell-tale signs.

Authority
Is the message claiming to be from someone official? For example, your bank, doctor, a solicitor, or a government department. Criminals often pretend to be important people in your life (son, daughter, parents etc) or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.

Urgency
Are you told you have a limited time to respond (such as ‘within 24 hours’ or ‘immediately’)? Your family member needs cash sent to them urgently. Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.

Emotion
Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, or play on your emotions to gain support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.

Scarcity
Is the message offering something in short supply, like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.

Current events
Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

How to check if a message is genuine
If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly. Don’t use the numbers or address in the message – use the details from their official website.

Remember, your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email, or call and ask you to confirm your bank account details. If you suspect someone is not who they claim to be, hang up and contact the organisation directly. If you have paper statements or a credit card from the organisation, official contact details are often written on them.

Read more here on the National Cyber Security Centre’s website

 

Join our new VCI 500 Club, Charity lottery

Launches new charity lottery 500 Club

Join our monthly 500 Club draws for your chance to win a cash prize. Just £5 each month, paid via direct debt to make it super easy tThe more people who join the Club, the bigger the winnings! Simply email help@vci.org.uk for our membership form and we will give you all the information you need.

Our very first monthly draw will be held in February 2023 so don’t miss out and sign up by 31st January 2023 to be in time for the draw!

The 500 Club is a great way to support our vital charitable work and be in with a chance of winning a fantastic cash prize.

 

For full details about our 500 Club lottery and how to play: 500 Club – Vale Community Impact (vci.org.uk)

 

Our Advice Centre, recognised as a ‘Safe Place’

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse – Safe Places Scheme

We are proud to be recognised as a ‘safe place’ here in Wantage, Oxfordshire.

If you are feeling anxious, lost, confused or are being abused or harassed you can come to us for help and support, as one of the designated Safe Places.

Safe Places will help you if you are scared or lost in town.
We are joining the Safe Places national network of participating shops, community centres, libraries and cafes, offering a local safe place to come to. The South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse Safe Places Scheme aims to help vulnerable people feel confident and safe when out and about in the area, by building confident and safer communities. The Safe Places scheme supports elderly people, people with dementia, those who may have physical or learning disability, people with mental health needs or someone who feels unwell. Look out for the Safe Places logo where you are.
Read more about the scheme and other venues taking part:

Safe Places – Keep Safe with Safe Places

 

White Horse Lottery – Give our fundraising a boost

White Horse Lottery – Supporting our charity!

Is a wonderful scheme to help us raise much needed funds for our charity and like any lottery, if your numbers come up, you could win a massive £1,000 John Lewis eGift Card. From tech to toys, and furniture to fashion prizes and of course, that’s on top of the chance to win the £25,000 jackpot!

Tickets cost just £1 a week

How to play:

Simply head to www.whitehorselottery.co.uk and find us: Vale Community Impact

We have 29 wonderful supporters and we’re hoping to gain some more, so pleased do join in and have some fun!

*Players must be 16 years of age or older.

BBC Radio Oxford – Cost of Living Crisis

Did you hear us? Our charity is helping people through the Cost of Living crisis

Vale Community Impact are delighted to be part of the BBC programme focused on the steep rise in the cost of living and how it is impacting on lives and charities across the UK. Did you hear our interviews with our wonderful staff, volunteers and clients? Whether you need practical help, advice or support do get in contact with our charity’s team by emailing help@vci.org.uk or call us on: 01235 765348.

How can Vale Community Impact, help me?

From offering free independent advice across the Vale of White Horse, to helping relieve feelings of loneliness and being cut off amongst our vulnerable community members, we are here with practical help. Sometimes life throws a spanner in the works, bill payments can get overlooked, you may need a benefits check or help receiving a food parcel etc. Pick up the phone and speak to our friendly team. Or book a private appointment to speak to one of our independently trained advisors: email help@vci.org.uk or call us on: 01235 765348.

If you feel you would like to get involved and help people through this time by joining our incredible team of volunteers in our advice centre, as a Good Neighbour or Driver, please do get in touch: help@vci.org.uk

Thank you

The Ray Collins Charitable Trust – Energy Support Fund

Wantage & Grove – Energy Support Fund

With the ‘cost-of-living’ crisis causing energy bills to double and food prices to spiral, The Ray Collins Charitable Trust (TRCCT) has set up a localised Energy Support Fund to help residents of OX12, within 5 miles of Wantage. Vale Community Impact as a charity are working with the TRCCT to process applications for this fund. Read more about the Fund here: ENERGY SUPPORT FUND LEAFLET

If you are experiencing hardship as a result of the energy crisis and would like to be considered for help from this fund, please complete the form below and either email it to: help@vci.org.uk or post it to us at VCI, 16 Market Place, Wantage OX12 8AE. If you have any trouble completing the form, please call 01235 765348.

Applications will be assessed on a first come, first served basis and the process could take up to five to ten working days.

Application form for The Ray Collins Charitable Trust – Energy Support Fund

Master Energy Support Fund – Application Form