Shelter Cymru helps over 50s in Pembrokeshire

On Wednesday morning, Shelter Cymru held a networking event at the Queen’s Hall in Narberth, to raise awareness of a specialist service that the charity offers in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The Shelter Cymru Cyngor 50+ Advice project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is specifically tailored to assist people over the age of 50 in both counties.

Delegates from across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire attended the event to learn more about this particular project and what it has achieved so far. Since March 2015 the project has assisted over 300 people across the two counties. The project assisted to prevent homelessness in over 80 of these cases, through increasing income, and assisting to appeal adverse benefit decisions that were directly impacting on the security of the person’s home.

Cyngor 50+ Advice Project co-ordinator Kelly White said, “People can be affected by changes to their circumstances at any time in their life, but we’ve found that older people are often less aware of the support that’s available or to ask for help. As people get older they often start to look at their housing needs and whether their homes will be suitable, affordable and sustainable in the future”.

The project can assist anyone over 50 years old in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire with housing or housing related issues by helping people to address issues before they reach crisis point.   Established in 2012, the project has helped almost 500 people with issues such as rent arrears, mortgage arrears, debt management and the effects of welfare reform including assisting with the change from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence payments and assisting to appeal adverse decisions.

The Cyngor 50+ Advice project can also provide financial health checks with service users which look at whether there is a potential to increase income or reduce household costs so that people can understand if and where savings can be made, as well as ensuring that they receive any other benefits or support that they are entitled to.

Help is available at numerous surgeries held across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire where specialist advisers from the project are at hand to address concerns and support people through any changes that they have to make.  The project feedback has been extremely positive with 100% of people contacted after involvement with the service stating that they were happy with the assistance that they received and 93% stating that they felt better able to manage as a result of involvement with the project.

Kelly White added, “We can work across any tenure and are able to do home visits if the person is unable to reach our surgery venues. Cyngor 50+ Advice project is designed to help the over 50s in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen and we hope that the project can reach out to more people than ever who are in housing need or experiencing financial hardship over the coming year”

In addition there was a focus at the event about the contribution that volunteers make to the project and to Shelter Cymru as an organisation.  The Cyngor 50 + Advice project volunteers are involved in every aspect of its work and are involved in moving the project forward as well as offering support to the people who access the surgeries.

Kelly White added “Volunteers have contributed over 500 hours to the project since March 2015 and their commitment to the aims of the project have been outstanding.  The contribution of project volunteers is invaluable especially their support in helping the project reach people within our communities”.

Please contact the service on 01554 899371 or fiftyplus@sheltercymru.org.uk should you wish to book an appointment or to speak to one of the project staff about the work we do or about volunteering with the project.