A Living Tradition Gateshead Roma Kavárna Project Report April 2018

Helping people with debt problems continued to be a major concern and preoccupation of the Gateshead Roma Kavárna Project in April.  Debt is a huge issue with the community in many respects, especially with regards to Universal Credit.  For people who are struggling with the language barrier, the applications for Universal Credit can be extremely challenging.  As well as Universal Credit, we are dealing with helping people to gain Council Tax reductions and Personal Independence Payments.

Issues with housing and landlords also continue to be a major concern. We have had to call Environmental Health in order to help people gain their rights, although clients still worry about us doing this, because of pressure from landlords. We explain that landlords can't kick tenants out of their homes in the middle of the day. It is about letting people know what their rights are. Landlords know that families are in vulnerable situations; on occasions families have left their homes with their suitcases, without realising that the eviction should be taking place.

We are getting many clients and try to help them all.  We don't like letting them down. 

Work was also done this month regarding increasing job searching, with the helping of our first client to complete a c.v. This is an aspect of our work, which we hope to develop further over time. 

We also spoke to two of the local councillors about the work that we are doing and this revealed an issue with school attendance, which led to us contacting EMTAS team to alert them.

We have continued to have great support from Gateshead Citizens Advice Bureau and ACORN, which we really appreciate.

We have completed an audit of addresses of clients as part of work towards mapping where people live who are getting support from us.  It revealed a lot of NE8 Gateshead postcodes, but also about a quarter from NE4 postcodes in Newcastle.    

Finally, looking ahead, we are hoping that we can have activities for children during the schools' summer holiday.  

Peter Sagar, Company Secretary, A Living Tradition CIC, and Irma Karchnakova, interpreter and worker, May 2018

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