New benefit rules for lone parents claiming Income Support

New rules are being introduced from April 28th 2014 for lone parents claiming income support.

Currently, lone parents claiming income support whose youngest child is aged 5 and over are required to move to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and actively seek work for a minimum of 16 hrs per week.

Those with children between 1- 4 years are expected to have 2 contacts per year with their Job Centre Advisor, and those with children aged 4 are expected to have 4 such contacts per year.

From April 28th 2014, those with a child or children aged between 3 and 4 years will remain on income support but be expected to undertake more mandatory work related activity, such as updating their CV, improving interview skills, refreshing or gaining new IT skills.

Claimants will not have a formal ‘claimant commitment’ as was introduced by most Job Centres last October for those on JSA, but there will be a more detailed action plan agreed between the lone parent and the Job Centre Plus advisor for those with children aged between 3 and 4.

Those with child or children between 1 – 4 will also remain on income support and still be required to have a minimum of 2 contacts per year, but possibly more depending on what their circumstances are and what is considered possible.  This will be negotiated between the Job Centre Plus advisor and the lone parent.

Other planned welfare reform which will affect lone parents will include the planned national rollout of Universal Credit (UC) in 2017, whereby anyone claiming one or more of the following benefits will move to monthly payments under UC: income support as lone parents, employment support allowance (income related), working tax credits, child tax credits, housing benefits, incapacity benefit.

Lone parents will continue in some cases to be affected by the Benefit Cap unless they are working 24 hours per week; and by the Bedroom Tax if they no longer receive sufficient housing benefit to cover their rent.

For up to date information on lone parents and benefits, visit DirectGov

Training events for parents and professionals supporting children with Down’s syndrome

Wirral Downs Syndrome Education Forum, in association with Sundowns charity, have arranged a free Information Event on using iPads and Apps to support teaching and learning for children with Down’s syndrome, aimed at teachers, teaching assistants and parents.

The event, on Wednesday 7th May, will be held at Meadowside School, Woodchurch from 3.45pm to 5.15pm. See the flyer for further details and information on how to book your place.

Further afield, the Down Syndrome Training and Support Service are running a training day for parents and professionals living or working with children and young people with Down’s sydrome. 

The training, on speech, language and communication difficulties in children with Down’s syndrome, will be held in Bradford on Friday 9th May and costs £15 per parent or £30 per professional, with lunch included. This leaflet gives more details and booking information.


Film and Photography workshops for young people, 24th & 25th April

North Birkenhead Development Trust and FACT, the UK’s leading media arts centre, have got together to run Mysteries from the Moss Workshops for young people aged 11 to 19.

Working with Professional Photographer Washington Buckley, young people will create short films and stories based around Bidston Moss.

Over two days the group will visit the Moss, take pictures there, create stories and make a short, simple film out of the images.

The workshops cost £1 and will run on

Thursday 24th and Friday 25th April,

from 10am – 4pm (with breaks and lunch)

at St. James Centre, 344 Laird Street, Birkenhead.

FACT will provide all equipment needed and there will also be a tour of the current FACT exhibition in Liverpool on Friday 25th April, leaving St. James Centre at 2pm.

Young people should wear old shoes and have a coat as they will be exploring Bidston Moss, which may be muddy, and it might rain!

If you would like to take part in this workshop, contact Helen at St. James Centre on 0151 670 9974 or email Places are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment.


Grants & Trusts Fundraiser required

Warrington Youth Club is aiming to recruit a highly motivated innovative person to the role of Grants & Trusts Fundraiser with a proven track record in securing financial support from a range of sources to play a vital role working within the charity.

The successful applicant will be responsible for researching and submitting written applications to a range of Trusts and Foundations to enable the charity to implement, develop and sustain vital projects and services for children and young people. The role will include identifying suitable funding opportunities, writing creative and compelling applications, liaising with project delivery teams, producing monitoring/reporting information and maintaining communications with funders and potential funders.

In return, the Fundraiser will receive a rewarding and challenging career with a Charity that is committed to the social and personal development of young people, and work within a highly focussed team to contribute towards the growth of Warrington Youth Club.

Person Specification

  • Experienced in Grants & Trust Fundraising
  • Flexible, passionate, reliable and confident, self motivated and results orientated
  • Proficient in using Microsoft Office Software
  • Ability to manage own workload and working under pressure in a changeable environment
  • Ability to undertake effective and relevant research
  • Practised in creating financial budgets
  • Clear and concise communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Excellent presentation and negotiation skills

Salary: £26 – 29k (dependant on qualifications and experience)

This is a full-time post (37.5 hours per week) and will require an enhanced DBS disclosure and suitable references.

Download an application pack from or send a SAE to:
Lyndsay Darlison
Warrington Youth Club
The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Young People’s Centre
Peace Drive

Closing date: Thursday 1st May 2014. CV’s without an application pack WILL NOT be accepted.

Interviews will take place week commencing Monday 6th May 2014.

Registered Charity Number: 1101

Photography & Art taster session @ WMO youth club, 26th April

WMOWirral Multicultural Organisation have a visual arts workshop planned for Saturday 26th April for young people aged 8 to 19, at  their Youth Club at the Multicultual Centre.

See here for more details or contact Suzie on 0151 666 4547




Developing a competent multi-agency workforce- a date for your diary!

Launch date: 9th May 2014

Venue:  Professional Excellence Centre, Acre Lane, Bromborough, Wirral CH62 7BZ

Target Audience:  Managers

Multi-agency safeguarding in Wirral is overseen by the joint adult and children Learning and Development sub-committee.  In recent months they have been trying to improve training with the development of the following:

  • Joint programme of safeguarding training for the whole workforce
  • Training Needs Analysis to develop the skills of your staff
  • Impact evaluations to discover how training impacts on delivery of services and outcomes for families
  • Competencies to advise which skills are required for each of your staff
  • Training strategy to underpin the programme and stress the need for staff to develop appropriate skills

Multi –agency training works and the safeguarding boards need your involvement to ensure that your staff develop the skills and knowledge that will help them to support children, young people and adults across Wirral.

This one and a half hour briefing session will give you an insight into understanding the work that has been undertaken and the importance of this training as part of your staff member’s developing competencies appropriate to their role.

There will be three identical sessions during the day:

  • 9.30am  – 11.00am
  • 12.15pm – 1.45pm
  • 3.00pm  – 4.30pm

Booking instructions: please send an e mail to with your full name, job title,organisation and telephone number and stating your preferred session.WSAPB


Funding for families and individuals

Funding is available from the Maud Beattie Murchie Trust for basic needs for families who are on low incomes, who have no access to savings, or support from family and cannot obtain funding from DWP, Social Services, Children & Young People’s Department, Health or other sources for the items required.

Organisations should submit an application on behalf of the family, preferably by email to or, or by post to the address on the form. Closing date for applications to this fund is Friday 23rd May 2014.

If your organisation works with families in crisis but can’t help them financially, Buttle UK may be able to help. Their small grants programme provides essential items for children and young people whose development, health and well-being are at risk. It provides a fast response to families who lack basic items such as bedding, a cooker or a washing machine.

Parents of children and young adults who are disabled or seriously ill are able to apply for a share of the £27.3 million Family Fund. 

family fund, the UK’s largest grant giving charity, is designed to make life easier for low-income families with disabled and seriously ill children and young people. The money can be used for days out, garden play equipment, computers, toys and kitchen appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.

The fund helped more than 50,000 families in England last year, from a total of £27 million. The fund is now in its 40th year.

Applications can be submitted at any time. For more information on how to apply, please click on the link here.


Free basic safeguarding training, 19th May

Steve Withington, Wirral SCB Safeguarding Training Officer, has agreed to facilitate another Introduction to Safeguarding Children and Young People training session for volunteers and staff from the voluntary, community and faith sector in Wirral on Monday 19th May.

This free training aims for participants to develop an awareness of safeguarding and promote the welfare of children and young people and is suitable for those new to safeguarding and those needing to update their knowledge.

The session will be at Wirral Christian Centre, Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead from 6pm to 9pm.

Download further details and a booking form here. Completed booking forms should be returned to Lynn Loughran, Link Forum Co-ordinator at

Participants will receive confirmation of their place on the course at least one week before.



Easter Fun @ St James Centre

bunnySt James Centre is hosting lots of activities for all the family this Easter.

There’ll be arts & crafts, cooking, street dance and an Easter Egg Hunt, along with their Spring Family Festival.

See the attached poster for details or contact Helen on 0151 670 9974




Contact a Family

Free information sessions for parents of children and young people with a disability or additional need

Contact a FamilyContact a Family, in partnership with WIRED Carers Services, are holding a series of FREE information sessions for parents of children and young people with a disability or additional needs.

The sessions will all be held at The Pavilion, Birkenhead Park, Park Drive, Birkenhead, CH41 4HY and will start at 10.00am (registration from 9.30am) until 12.30pm.

Click on the session title for details of each session:

Brothers and Sisters: juggling the needs of the whole family  – Monday 28th April 2014

Disability Living Allowance and Benefits  – Tuesday 6th May 2014

Growing Up, Moving On: preparing for transition to adulthood  – Wednesday 11th June 2014

Difficult behaviours that challenge us: developing understanding and getting support  – Wednesday 25th June 2014

To book a place or for further information, call the Wired Carers Helpline on 0151 670 0777 (Monday to Friday 9am until 4.30pm) or email


Nursery Cook required to cover maternity leave

Summerhill Day Nursery in Beechwood are recruiting for a proficient Nursery Cook to provide maternity cover.

All applicants must have a Food & Hygiene Certificate

Main duties will include:

  • Preparing & cooking nursery meals in accordance with nursery menus
  • To clean up after meal times ensuring Health and Safety and Food Hygiene Regulations are met at all times

The post is for 16 hours per week Monday to Friday, between 10am and 1.30pm and the salary meets national minimum wage

For an application pack, contact Barbara Morris on 0151 677 8008


Funding opportunities and training for groups and organisations

Lloyds Foundation’s new grant programme is open. INVEST and ENABLE will help charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives, and promote practical approaches to lasting change. Support will be adapted to the needs of small and medium sized charities (income between £25,000 and £1 million) that are committed to delivering work which breaks or prevents cycles of disadvantage.

  • INVEST – A flexible, long term core funding programme for organisations delivering clear, targeted outcomes for disadvantaged people (Grants up to £25k per annum and up to six years);
  • ENABLE – A smaller and shorter grants programme for organisations that have identified clear development needs (Grants up to a total of £15k over two years);
  • ENHANCE –provides an option of tailored in-kind support to strengthen and develop charities funded through invest or enable.

They operate an online application process.

VCA Wirral are hosting a training session for small charities looking at bidding for statutory funds & contracts. The session, on 12th May, will be held at VCA Wirral’s premises in Wallasey and costs £25 per person, with lunch and refreshments included. See their website for details and to book your place.

There’s a Meet the Funder event for Heritage Lottery Fund at Wallasey Town Hall on Wednesday 11th June. Karen Ziesler from Heritage Lottery will be coming to talk to the Parks Forum group, and other groups are invited to attend. The event is from 7pm to 8pm. Book your place through the VCA Wirral website here.

Bidston & St James Community First Panel is open for applications again until Friday 6th June 2014.  An application form and guidance notes can be downloaded from their website here. This is the last year of the programme and all funding has to be spent by February 2015, with monitoring completed by March 2015. If you have received funding in previous years, please ensure you have completed your monitoring before submitting again, as your application will not be considered if not. If you have any queries relating to this fund, please do not hesitate to contact the panel.

The deadline for applications is Friday 6th June at 4pm.  Applications can be received via email to or in hard copy to Community First Panel, St James Centre, 344 Laird Street, Birkenhead, CH41 7AL. The panel will be meeting week commencing 9th June and all applicants will be contacted by Friday 20th June. Please ensure you consider these dates when planning your project.

The latest Funding Bulletin from Zel Rodgers at VCA Wirral is available here, and includes details of Comic Relief Local Communities Programme and Deutsche Bank Small Grants Fund for youth engagement.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for charities and non-profit groups working anywhere in the UK. Grants can be used to purchase PCs, laptops or IT services within a year of receipt of funding and successful groups will receive full support with no on-going committment.  Further information is available here. To apply, email The scheme is on-going, until at least April 2015.

The Big Lottery Fund and ITV are looking for new projects that will improve local places and the lives of people in your community. In November 2014 ITV regional news will feature two great project ideas in each region each night for three nights, competing for viewers’ phone votes. At stake is up to £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. To have a chance of winning you’ll need to inspire local people to get involved with your project. It’ll also need to capture the public’s imagination and persuade them to vote for you. They have £3.8 million to give out and expect to make four awards in each ITV region. Deadline for entries is 12 noon on 16th May 2014. Details and application forms are available on their website here.

Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund, aimed at helping local community and volunteer groups to improve or refurbish sports clubs or transform non-sporting venues into modern grassroots sport facilities, is open for applications. Applications for grants of bewteen £20,000 and £75,000 can be made at any time but decisions are only made twice a year, In September and February. Applications for assessment in September 2014 must be received by 6th June.

Fair Chance is a payment by results programme which will fund providers to move homeless young people into sustainable accommodiation and into employment, education or training. Bidders will be eligible for payments of up to £15,000 per individual and can bid for the right to work with between 50 and 600 individuals, so it’s not suitable for smaller organisations. Expressions of interest should be submitted on the application form by 12pm on 22 April 2014.

VCA Wirral’s training and events calendar for 2014 has been published. The programme includes Meet the Funder sessions from John Moores Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund and Children in Need, training sesions on evidencing need, monitoring and evaluation and basic accounts, and a session with expert fundraiser Margaret Kelly. See the attached flyer for details of the sessions and how to book.

The Morgan Foundation now have an expanded grant programme of over £1.5 million per year and target their funds where they can be most effective in making a real difference to the lives of the people in Merseyside, Cheshire (west of the M6) North Wales, and North Shropshire.

The Foundation specialises in supporting organisations helping children and families as well as elderly, disabled and socially isolated people. They will consider any work which has a positive effect on their welfare and quality of life, or which expands the opportunities and life choices for young people in this region. Trustee meetings are held regularly throughout the year and there are no specific dates for applications to be received.

See their website for further details and how to apply.



Health, wellbeing and educational activities available across Wirral

Wirral Adult & Community Learning Partnership have a range of courses for adults for the summer term in venues across Wirral. Courses range from English, maths and IT to photography, gardening and British Sign Language. Programmes for each district can be downloaded below and adults on an eligible income-based benefit can access them for free, or at a reduced cost:

The Wallasey Area programme includes a 10-week Level 1 Award Equality and Diversity course, designed for anyone who is interested in developing knowledge in Equality & Diversity as part of their job role, to enhance their volunteering opportunities, or to contribute effectively within their communities. See the flyer for more details.

Do you have clients in need of literacy or numeracy support? A Literacy Buddies group is available at St James Centre, Laird Street, Birkenhead on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm. 

Contact North Birkenhead Development Trust on 0151 670 9974 and they will organise a short initial assessment and signpost to the St James Centre group, or a more suitable group, depending upon their individual learning needs. Please do not refer clients to the group before they have been assessed.  Contact Anna Barnish at the number above or email for further information.

Want to learn Mandarin? Wirral Multicultural Organisation are running an Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture course on Mondays from 1pm to 3pm from 28th April.

The 10-week course will be run at the WMO Centre on Conway Street, Birkenhead. Contact WMO on 0151 666 4547 or email for more information.

Wirral Community NHS Trust has relaunched it’s programme of health and wellbeing activities and courses available throughout Wirral, and most are free to attend.

The Livewell Programme (formerly the Community Programme) aims to:Livewell

  • support local people to make positive lifestyle changes
  • encourage people to get involved in local activities and courses near to where they live
  • help people reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • support local organisations and workplaces with training, advice and resources around health and wellbeing promotion.

April 2014′s Livewell Programme is available to download here and most sessions don’t need to be booked so people can just turn up at the venue. For further information call 0151 630 8383 or visit their website

Wiser Solutions operates community projects from the former Glass Barrel pub in Market Street, Birkenhead. Their focus is helping people gain skills which will increase their income and help improve the quality of life for local people. 

They will be running low cost training sessions and regular community clubs from February onwards. One will be a weekly club where people can learn facepainting from a qualified professional face painter. Other clubs and workshops include computer skills training, photography, cycle maintenance, first aid and health and safety. There will be a modest charge to cover expenses.

They are currently taking bookings for the Facepainting Club, which will start mid-February. They anticipate this will be very popular and spaces are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.  The face painting sessions will be led by a friendly, qualified Make Up Artist and professional face painter. She is happy to teach people with no experience and also people who have some experience and want to practice their skills. It will be £10 – £12.50 per week including all materials needed and complementary refreshments. Sessions will last 1 hour each week and will be geared towards people wanting to learn face painting and practice their skills. For people wanting to set up a business in facepainting, Wiser Solutions expect to run half day and full day workshops.

To book, phone 0844 415 4898 or email

Oxton Gateway Community Lunch, Thursday 15th May *

The next Oxton Gateway Community Lunch will take place on Thursday 15th May 2014 from 11.30 to 1.30pm, at the Wirral Christian Centre Church Hall, Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead, CH41 2UE. (*Please note change of date)

The Oxton Gateway is a charitable organisation set up to help reduce the impact of poverty in Birkenhead and work together to rebuild community. They have some wonderful projects –  a seniors social club, job club, kids & youth events, and an upcoming allotment project and dad’s club.

The activity which really stands us out is the volunteering project; Oxton Gateway’s employability class clients volunteer weekly to serve the local seniors with a garden tidy or helping hands service. They are sent out, supervised in teams undertaking small, low skilled tasks which help older people to stay in their homes. This not only teaches skills, teamwork and instils a work ethic; it helps break down the barriers in the community and breaks the isolation by bringing generations together.

Everyone involved with the Oxton Gateway is invited to their free (donations accepted) lunch as a way of getting the community together to tackle real local issues, so you’ll get to meet with local people from all situations and backgrounds if you go along.

The format is planned to allow an opportunity to discuss your organisation or department with Oxton Gateway clients and answer their questions.

To book your free place on the event, call 0151 200 0815 and speak to Petra or Ben, or email