Research & Campaigns
We believe that it’s important not just to help people find a way forward, but also to understand what led to the difficulties in the first place and to do something about those underlying issues.
We can help address the fundamental issues that exist in society by collecting evidence and by using our huge volume of data, case studies and local surveys. This leads to local, regional and national campaigns.
Moving forward, we want to develop our research and campaigns (R&C) work by;
- Developing a Digital Engagement strategy and team.
- Developing a new R&C strategy plan – detailing actions for each campaign.
- Being a voice on Social Media for our community locally and nationally, by engaging in campaigns and raising awareness of issues faced by residents of the Doncaster Borough.
We continually strive to;
- Increase local awareness of our campaigns.
- Be involved in Regional and National campaigns challenging discrimination and inequality.
- Share best practice about research and campaigns with other local Citizens Advice.
- Actively develop local campaigns about the issues that are really relevant to our residents.
- Engage with local partners and people of influence, including our MPs, on key national campaigns.
The pandemic has limited the amount of campaign work we have been able to do this year but provided us with a wealth of issues we want to take action on in the coming year, to ensure we all recover from the pandemic and no one is left behind.
Cost of Living
All of us are noticing our bills go up, but for people on the tightest budgets there’s simply nothing left to cut back on.
Many are getting into debt and finding that accessing crisis support like food banks is the only way to get by. Our frontline advisers are already seeing these dire consequences of the cost of living crisis.
- One in five have already cut back on food shop or turned off heating to save money
- Citizens Advice calls for urgent action to prevent wave of hardship this winter
New research on the cost of living crunch by Citizens Advice reveals one in ten families – equivalent to 3.2 million households – are facing financial crisis this winter.
The charity analysed average income data against household spend on essentials like rent, bills and food to establish how many families can meet their living costs.
It found that even if living on a minimal budget – the financial plan its advisers use to support people through a debt management process – more than three million households would be in the red or unable to cover the essentials.
We met with local MP Ed Miliband to explain why MPs and the Government should intervene before things escalate even further. We’d urge him to act now and campaign to increase benefits in line with inflation this December.
Given the enormous pressures facing people this winter, energy suppliers should be doing everything in their power to identify and support struggling customers.
Citizens Advice sees day in, day out the heartbreaking consequences when this support falls short. People are cutting back on food and essentials to cover energy debts and living in cold and dark homes when they’ve simply run out of money to top up their meter.
We met with local MP Dame Rosie Winterton to discuss the energy crisis and cost of living. We discussed the impact the crisis is having in Doncaster and it is important that the Government gets the support for energy bills right in the long term and, crucially, this must include helping people to make their homes more energy efficient.
Cost of Living partnership event promotes cost of living support
Organisations across Doncaster came together to help support residents throughout the cost of living crisis.
Increasing costs will affect everyone in the borough, but for those already living in or close to poverty the issues are likely to be more complex, requiring partnership working more than ever.
We spoke to MP Nick Fletcher at the event he organised, which provided a key opportunity for collaboration between local organisations.
Keep the Uplift
The governments plan to cut universal credit and working tax credit by £20 a week in October 2021 was a key campaign focus this year.
We campaigned that this money had been a lifeline for families across Doncaster and the country.
It was brought in at the start of the pandemic because the government recognised that families needed more to live on. It was true then, and it’s still true now. It’s wrong for the government to take this support away.
We met with local MP Nick Fletcher to explain why the MPs and the government should vote to #KeepTheLifeline for children and families in Doncaster.
Energy Market Meltdown
In response to many energy suppliers going bust in 2021, we campaigned for energy market reform in favour of consumers. We warned about the impact that widespread price hikes would have on the public.
We began sharing information an advice to help people manage their energy bills.
We met with MP Ed Milliband and Doncaster North councillors to discuss our worries about the energy market and the consequences locally for energy price rises.
Way to Work
We looked to support the government in their way to work campaign which looked to increase people’s employability.
We met the Councillor Lani-Mae to discuss our participation in the Kickstart scheme and the work we already did in upskilling our volunteers.
We discussed barriers to work and how people could be supported with advice to understand their rights and make more informed decisions.
We also outlined the positive wellbeing outcomes people achieve through receiving advice and support.
The EU Settlement Scheme
The EU settlement scheme was designed to offer EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK before the end of the transition period and their eligible family members, the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the transition period has ended.
This was significant because people who don’t apply before the deadline of 30th June 2021 stand to lose their rights to live and work in the UK.
Our aim was to make as many people in the Doncaster Borough aware of these changes and to ensure they knew how to apply, and how to contact us for support with applications if they needed this service.
- Worked with external partners such as DMBC to provide a borough wide approach to promoting the need to apply and assisting with advice and applications.
- All staff and volunteers undertook in depth training on the Settlement scheme and the application process.
- We promoted the issues on social media and in the local media throughout the year and will continue to do so until the deadline.
- We raised the issue with clients, at community and stakeholder meetings.
- We campaigned for greater clarity in the rules and the implications for those who may miss the deadline.
- We installed Video Advice pods at The One Stop Shop in the Council house, increasing access to adviser support for those making applications.
To date we provided 197 people with advice or assistance on the scheme or the application process. Our campaigning on this issues is ongoing, we intend to increase the scale of our promotion of this issue in readiness for the 30th June 2021 deadline.