January 2021

Families First News

Local area news

North Herts & Stevenage News Bulletin

January 2021

We are collating the updates we receive for the services into district bulletins. If you would like to include your service update/news for this area please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk and please put "Newsletter update" in the subject box, thank you.

News from Hitchin Partnership CIO

Hitchin Partnership are working as part of the Hitchin Food Provision Team. The team is a group of local organisations and charities that usually come together at Christmas to provide vulnerable families in our area with a Christmas Hamper each year. We came together at the start of the Covid-19 Crisis with the idea of providing a weekly hamper to families who suddenly found themselves in financial difficulty due to the situation; loss of employment, significantly reduced hours, furloughed, awaiting Universal Credits, etc. Very quickly we realised that a weekly hamper was going to be too difficult logistically and may not meet the different needs of individual families so we changed our plan to provide supermarket vouchers. We have now been providing supermarket vouchers since March 2020. We also provided 158 families with supermarket vouchers and gift bags for Christmas. We are aiming to continue to support families until the end of the school summer holidays 2021, we currently have funds to April/May 2021.

The team is made up of the following groups: Hitchin Partnership CIO, Hitchin Round Table, Hitchin Youth Trust, Rotary of Hitchin Tilehouse, Hitchin Volunteer Army, Zeo Church in collaboration with Hitchin Food Bank and Feed Up Warm Up.

Please also review the Hitchin Food Provision fundraising page.

Additionally, Hitchin Partnership CIO are continuing to provide support to families and schools in accordance with the current guidance.

If you would like any further information, please email: hpadmin@wilshere.herts.sch.uk.

Create Community Courses 2021

Please see the information below and this schedule for details about the courses being delivered in 2021.

  • From Feb to July, we will deliver the Health and Wellbeing (HW 1 & 2) and Moving towards Employment (MtE 1 & 2) courses every month and our new IT course for beginners ‘Living in a digital age’.
  • At the moment, we’re hoping to be able to offer face to face delivery over 2 days for HW and MtE, at either of our Hubs in Letchworth or Stevenage, according to demand, but recognise that not all participants are willing/able to travel, and that a further lockdown or tighter restrictions may prevent this altogether.
  • Either way, we will respond to the needs of those referred/enrolled and try to provide for as many people as possible - inevitably this will include a Zoom option as well.
  • IT courses will run every Wednesday morning from 3rd Feb, face to face at the Hub in Letchworth on a monthly rota, so again 5 x 2 hour sessions. (In a four week month it will be 4 x 2.5 hour sessions), unless shut down by Covid.

Therefore, we can help any of your clients who may feel they’d like support with confidence, managing anxiety and stress, developing CVs, interview practise and preparation or improving their IT skills. If you have any questions, please email: admin@createnetwork.community.

Temporary changes to local Jobcentre services

To help keep customers and colleagues as safe as possible in the latest phase of the pandemic, the Department has decided jobcentre opening hours will be 10am to 2pm beginning on Monday the 18th January 2021. This temporary change means we can continue providing safe, essential services for those who need to come into the Jobcentre and who are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally. The opening hours of our phone lines remain as they were. In addition, the Relay UK service and the Video relay service are both still available.

Anyone entering a Jobcentre will be required to wear a face covering, unless they are in an exempt category. Please remind your audiences to follow the latest government guidance on meeting with others safely and lockdown restrictions and that if we need to make an appointment with a customer, this will be by the phone. We will leave a message in their journal before we call them. If you have any questions, then please contact your local Jobcentre.


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