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Janet’s Blog

To help our financial well being

Here’s a list of things that can really help and I feel a must in these difficult times, I have called it our FAB FOUR





1. Talk about Money 

How do we start conversations about money, it’s a difficult one and one many of us shy away from

Take a deep breath and ASK!

It’s good to Talk with someone we trust.

If you know people you think may be struggling financially, make time to call to check in on them

There are some Tips on Talking about money on the Money Advice Service website

And a pdf doc that may bemaybe good to distribute

2. Make a Budget

It’s always a good idea to do a budget but at this difficult time we all should all do an “emergency budget” whether that’s a full spreadsheet or on the back of an envelope, or one of our online planners, anything is better than nothing.

It’s not always much fun but you will be pleased you did it once it’s all over

 This is what a colleague sent me earlier this week   ………………..

“From our own situations, we are having to shop and support both sets of elderly parents and have had to use more expensive corner shops to get their shopping as the supermarkets were not safe to go near,  I’m sure there’ll be others like us doing the same which will have a massive impact on budgets.”

There are some great online budget planners which work really well and in this time of home curfews  perhaps we have a little more time to have a go!

Go to our favourite website,

CLICK on Get Help & Advice (bottom right ) then CLICK on Debt Advice and Budgeting then Budget Planners – Take your pick and have a go !

3. Check your Insurance policies

Check whether you have insurance policies that would cover your mortgage payments or replace some of your income. For example:

  • Payment protection insurance
  • Mortgage payment protection insurance
  • Accident, sickness and unemployment insurance

4. Talk to your creditors if you think you might miss a payment

Once you’ve done your budget if you think you’re going to struggle to pay essential bills make sure you talk to the people you owe money to before it becomes a problem.

Take a look at our website some good advice

Good Luck

Janet April 2020

Covid-19 SCAMS

2.Newsletter   Covid-19 SCAMS


We recognise that at this time it may be one of increased financial pressure for most people.

Now that the majority of the country will be working from home, it gives scammers a new opportunity to think of ingenious ways to gain access to data. We cannot stress enough the importance it is to remain vigilant at these times. If you receive a call you’re not expecting to terminate it immediately. If you receive an email that looks suspicious don’t click on any links or attachments.

Take a look and see what you can share with the people you care for, friends, family & colleagues.

Most importantly stay safe …. and some tools to help…..

1.  Check if something is an online Scam  – Have a go at the On-Line Scams Helper. 

2. Scams – Key facts and all the data

3. Get help with online – Find out how to contact our Scams Helpline Service for advice

4. Reporting a Scam – Action Fraud can get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate scams. They’ll also give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been scammed. Read our advice on trying to get your money back after a scam.

It’s quickest to report a scam to Action Fraud online, but you can also report the scam by phone.

Action Fraud Telephone: 0300 123 2040

Have a look at this latest SCAM WARNING from ActionFraud

 If you want to read more follow the link


March 2020

Janet’s Blog

Please check out  Coronavirus and what it means to you

There is some really useful information and links to some key questions that might be concerning you during this difficult time…

Check if something is a SCAM – lots of info plus an On-line Scam Helper

Staying at Home – you know what to do but just a reminder of govt.advice

Help you can get – the govt. has announced other ways of helping people

If you are extremely vulnerable because of a medical condition – info about shielding

Paying your Bills – check what help you can get and benefit entitlements

Going to Work – what is the govt.Job Retention Scheme

Taking your Children to School – check if you are a critical worker

If you cannot pay your Rent – what help is out there

If you are planning to travel abroad – what if your package holiday is canceled

And a lot more helpful information too

Coronavirus Update

Due to Coronavirus we are sorry to announce that we will not be able to provide an ‘open door’ drop-in service until further notice

This has been a hard decision to take, but the wellbeing of staff, volunteers and clients come first.

You will still be able to get advice from us:

Sandwell Advice Line: 0300 330 9017

Help To Claim Universal Credit: 0800 144 8444


The Council also has useful information if you go to this website

or you can email your questions here

We will provide updates on our, Website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Thank you.

Settling Well

Settling Well is a partnership between Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall and Brushstrokes, helping newcomers to settle well in Sandwell, becoming economically and socially active and starting to contribute to the life of their local community.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Meet the Settling Well Team!

Who can receive support?

Sandwell residents who have newly arrived in the UK in the last 2 years. 
Support will not be available through the project for asylum seekers or individuals who are in the UK without leave to remain. 

What support can we provide?

Our support workers known as Community Navigators will deliver very practical advice and hands-on support to newcomers, dealing with their immediate issues and helping them to settle more permanently in Sandwell:

  • Dealing with immediate problems, through advice on housing, benefits
  • Support to access immigration advice
  • “Settling Well” orientation to their new community. This will include accompanying clients to appointments, GP and dentist registration, familiarisation with appropriate use of health services, awareness of housing rights and responsibilities, familiarisation with local waste disposal arrangements
  • Support to access English classes
  • Linking into local activities in the communities where the migrants settle, bringing resident communities and migrants together.

Our approach – flexible and joined up preventative advice and support, tailored to meet the needs of each client.

To make a referral

You can contact us…


Telephone: 0121 553 6431 (Option 5)


On Thursday 9th January Tipton Locality will be starting a new outreach surgery at St Marks Church Hall in Tipton, offering debt and general advice from 10.00am – 2.00pm. No appointment necessary!

Meet the Settling Well Team

Settling Well Team

My name is Illa Patel; I work for Citizens Advice Sandwell on the Settling Well Project. I speak two Languages English and Gujarati and I am very excited to be part of this new project especially as it is helping the local community. I have always worked with the general public in my previous job as a Market Researcher and as an Interpreter. My hobbies are watching my local football team West Bromwich Albion, Zumba, and reading.

My name is Valentina Merlini. I am originally from Italy and I moved to the UK in 2015. I have lived in Sandwell for the last 4 years, and worked in Care and Support across different settings, getting to know services available in the area. I previously volunteered in the Community Sector, being involved in Employment Support projects and in English learning activities for migrants and newcomers.

I get great satisfaction from giving support and encouragement to people experiencing difficulties, difficulties similar to the ones that I encountered when I first arrived in the UK. I enjoy being busy playing various roles which involve continuous learning and development, therefore I wish that I can help my future clients improve their prospects and fulfill their potential. I feel happy when I see former clients that have in their journey towards settling well and feeling at home in this community. They have more confidence about their chances in life and more positive about their future.

My name is Syeda Bibi I was born and brought up in Sandwell From an early age I have been supporting community members who have language barriers to access the services they need. This includes help with writing forms, making calls or registering with schools, banks doctors, etc. I then I started helping people with immigration support either to help families come from abroad or existing members settling in the UK. This included access to ESOL classes and other activities that they were not aware of. It makes me feel good to help someone in need and that my work is valued.

Hello, my name is Rosa Nebaj, I work for Citizens Advice Sandwell for the Settling Well Project as a Community Navigator. I am an enthusiastic and resourceful person who loves working in the community. I am fluent in Arabic and speak good Dutch and Anuak which will be very useful when supporting newcomers in Sandwell. You are more than welcome to contact us if you need our help. .

My name is Marta Sobilo. I am Polish and I work for Citizens Advice Sandwell as a Settling Well Community Navigator. I am bilingual – I speak Polish and English. I used to help within my community with day-to-day issues such as filling forms or accessing public services. In this project, I will be supporting newcomers with settling well in the Sandwell area

Hi, my name is Shanara Begum, I am a Community Navigator, I speak English and Bengali and my hobbies include going to the cinema and reading lots of books! I have lived in Sandwell all my life, I have been working and also attending community activities, which are a great part of my life. It is really rewarding when you help people

Hello, My name is Hajar; I speak both Farsi & English. My motto is ’working from the heart’ I love being busy and helping others and am looking forward to supporting newcomers to Sandwell. If you need any help to settle in Sandwell feel free to contact us.

Click Start Good News Story: Illa

Illa engaged with Click Start in January 2019, wanting to improve her confidence online to better enable her to apply for jobs, complete cover letters, and use her email account.

Illa wanted to return to work as quickly as possible and after attending several sessions was successful in gaining voluntary work as an interpreter. Due to Illa being interested in working with the public she was signposted to attend Community Support Training with Citizens Advice Sandwell, which aimed to equip trainees with the skills needed for various community engagement roles.

This gave Illa the opportunity to apply for a Community Navigator role with Citizens Advice Sandwell, on the new Settling Well project. In this role Illa will utilise her multilingual skills to deliver practical advice and hands on support to migrants, such as helping register their children at local schools and doctors, and support adults in finding groups to meet new people and access learning opportunities.

Engagement with Click Start has therefore not only helped Illa improve her confidence online but also provided the opportunity for her to take part in training which resulted in her employment with the organisation.

Click Start Good News Story: Adrian

Adrian was referred to Click Start in September by his Job Centre Work Coach in Wolverhampton. Adrian had recently lost his job due to ill health and was having difficulty searching for work and managing his Universal Credit account online, with his recent job loss having a detrimental impact on his confidence and wellbeing.

Adrian engaged well with Digital Coach Jan and proved himself to be a quick learner. He was quickly able to use his smart phone to set up accounts on job sites, Jan coached Adrian on how to make changes to his CV and considering his transferrable skills and tailored his CV to specific vacancies.

Jan quickly saw a noticeable change in the demeanour of Adrian, who appeared more upbeat about his prospects of finding work, and got his car back on the road in anticipation of this.

The efforts of both Adrian and our Digital Coach Jan quickly paid off, and Adrian had to cancel a Click Start session so he could attend a job interview. Adrian then got in touch to tell us that he had started work after finding a job in carpentry, and had the following to say about his journey with Click Start.

“It’s amazing how many jobs I was offered once I had sent in a cv rather than a blank email. Thanks for all your help, and patience.”

Cancelled Flights and lost luggage drove almost 700,000 views of Citizens Advice guidance last year.

Citizens Advice is offering travellers some guidance and advice when your holiday plans meet a problem.

There are also some top tips to help your holidays run more smoothly.

Lots of useful information on :




Lost Luggage

Airline goes under

Follow the link below for more details and stories and those important Top Tips.     

July 2019