The GM bit of GMWRAG.

GMWRAG is painfully conscious of trying to avoid being yet another source of (often duplicated) information about the many social security changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In light of that we’d like to offer a slightly different role.

Firstly, we’d like to offer all GM welfare rights advice services the opportunity to post information up here (and via @GMWRAGtweets) about how access to welfare rights advice has been affected and amended in light of events. Please contact us either via Twitter DM or the usual email routes if you have information about your advice lines; online referrals; opening times or any other aspect of alternative service provision.

We think this would be a good way to highlight local provision as well as innovation.

Secondly, we’d like to offer any advisers who are currently socially distancing or socially isolating the opportunity to write about the experience from the perspective of being an adviser; trying to keep a service going and trying to not stress out.

This can be as long or as short as you want. In many ways the longer the better. This is your opportunity to describe what the front line currently looks like. We fully appreciate we may get no responses at all at present as people work flat out to maintain something like a status quo. However, the offer is there.

You can email us re: either of the above at








We absolutely cannot guarantee our responsiveness at present but we’ll certainly do the best we can.

North West Thingummy You Know What Group Stuff.

Yeah, essentially there are only so many times in your life you can type North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group or NWMHWRAG and not lose the will to live.

In the background here GMWRAG has people whispering seductively in our ear(s) about adding an extra word/letter to the GMSC but taking 2 letters out in order to make it the NSCG. Now that people is how you do it. They’re probably right too but come on now let’s not forget these things are GMWRAG sub-groups so it should really be the GMWRAG NSCG and the GMWRAG NWMHWRAG. Don’t tempt us or we will insist 🙂

So, yeah, them and.. more stuff.

Firstly, here’s yer minutes. Then here’s, er, stuff.

As if this were not enough joy for one day we must also say that we have been advised that there was some confusion at the last meeting. With a group name like that how could there not be. Oh no, hang on. That wasn’t it.

“There was some confusion about Work Allowances at the meeting.  Speaker Julie Conneely has emailed to clarify:-

To be eligible for a work allowance the claimant (and/or partner) either have

  • Responsibility for a child
  • Limited capability for work

There are two levels

if UCFS includes housing support the work allowance is ÂŁ287

if UCFS does not include housing support) the work allowance is ÂŁ503“.

But we knew that didn’t we?!

We will of course be adding the “stuff” to “their” pages as soon as we’ve stopped chortling at our own wit. So, that’s never then?

Oh yeah, and this.

The next meeting of “them” will be on Friday (the – why do we keep having to add in “the” for them?)  27th (of – and “of”) March 2020.

The speaker will be Susan Perry, Team Leader at Disability Services at Chorlton. She will be talking about and taking questions on PIP.

The meeting will be at Greater Manchester Law Centre. More details to follow nearer the time. We think that’ll be the usual don’t wander through the wrong door at the fire station stuff. Nope? Wrong venue. Don’t wander down the middle of the law centre or you’ll be arrested? Something like that? No? Don’t read the letters or they’ll change to N or NWLC? Sigh. Time for a lie down.

Energy Efficiency Training for Frontline Workers.

Energy Projects Plus have funding at present to deliver training sessions for frontline workers (staff and/or volunteers) who engage with potentially vulnerable residents. This is part of this year’s Big Energy Saving Networkproject. They’re one of the “regional leads”, along with Groundwork Manchester.

This project covers all of the Northwest of England, so can be delivered as far north as Carlisle.

The offer is a 1 hour session looking at the solutions to fuel poverty. It’ll cover switching tariffs and applying for additional support, such as Warm Home Discount, ECO funding for boilers, and the Priority Services Register.

Please feel free to pass this along to any contacts you feel may benefit. Details are in the PDF. Funding need to be spent by the end of March so move fast.

Slow off the mark again.

Well first of all a Happy New Year from GMWRAG. Yes, we know we’re slow off the mark but all the best things come to those who wait, or something like that.

We are also aware that a Bolton meeting ought to have taken place in December or early January. The brighter amongst you may have realised that ain’t happening but we’ll get “on it” whatever and wherever “it” might be as soon as we can.

In the meantime, in keeping with our general tardiness here are some minutes from the last NWMHWRAG meeting of 2019. Obviously also up permanently on their pages within the site.

NWMHWRAG meeting on “settled status”.

“Settled status” being the least “settled” thing GMWRAG has come across in some time we’re pleased to see that it wasn’t just us who invited Europia to speak. Following on from that last NWMHWRAG meeting we’re pleased to have received a number of documents for circulation. These are as follows:

These can all be found more permanently in the presentations page of the NWMHWRAG section of our website.

Europia presentation on the EU Settlement Scheme is now available for download.

Apparently some of you didn’t make the recent GMWRAG meeting in Salford. We can’t imagine how this sorry state of affairs came to be but we do need you to know that we’re not very forgiving. This won’t be forgotten.

In the meantime, the minutes of said meeting rather gnomically stated “Copy of presentation for GMWRAG site? Norman has provided the presentation but is in the process of getting clearance for us to publish.”.

We are pleased to confirm that, yes, we have been allowed to publish the presentation – CLEARANCE HAS BEEN GRANTED – and you can now download it from our most excellent Presentations and notes page. Alternatively, you could just click on the link below.

EU Settlement Scheme presentation from Bolton and Bury Citizens Advice/Europia

We’ve even managed (we think) to be clever enough to ensure it opens as an actual slideshow rather than just another PowerPoint presentation that you then have to start off as a slideshow. If it doesn’t work then, erm, it doesn’t work. We’re confident (ish) that it will.

GMWRAG swallows humble pie. Minutes of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum are now available.

Aye, that will no doubt teach us (nothing). No sooner had we pressed the “Magick into the binary ether” button on our last post telling you that you definitely can’t have the notes/minutes (whatevs we think they should be called this week) of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum yet than… you can!

Some peoples children have obviously become so annoying that reading our draft notes suddenly became a very attractive feeling. Well, indeed.

Anyway, you can now peruse said notes within our GMWRAG GM UC Forum pages (no, even we can’t be bothered typing that out in full!).

Please note that these notes are, as ever, password protected and if you don’t know the password then… you’re probably not meant to be reading them.

Those magic words you’ve not heard in so long. The minutes of the last GMWRAG meeting are now available for download. Something to do with Trainspotting. Blah Blah.

Blame Universal Credit. Blame Neil Couling. Blame Jo Chimes. Blame the Equality Act 2010. Blame Brexit. Yeah definitely blame Brexit.  Blame PLP. Blame the University of York. Blame Your Parents. No, er, hang on…

Anyway, it’s been over a year since we had such a plain old, vanilla, boring afternoon GMWRAG meeting with just the one speaker and with it the requirement to take actual notes like. All of the above are most definitely to blame for that but only in a good way. GMWRAG has had a great 12 months of unusual and interesting events with huge turnouts and even proper refreshments.

Finally then, here we are. Just a very straightforward GMWRAG meeting with some hopefully very straightforward notes. Yes, we are aware there are 5 sides of them. We’ll have none of that TL:DR nonsense thank you very much.  Kindly remember that this is because this is what accessible large print looks like; Norman waffled on quite a lot and the attendance list was quite big too.

Anyway, our delightful Our Meetings section has been updated with something that looks very much like actual minutes and if you lack even the basic energy to get that far then yes, you can download them from here. 

Please note that we are well aware that the above meeting was indeed preceded by a GMWRAG GM UC Forum meeting and that therefore you might be expecting notes from that too. Fear not. They have been circulated for approval and will be circulated for real as soon as we have that. However, this week does involve some ancient concept called “half-term” so a number of those charged with moaning about the inaccuracies have possibly been put nominally in charge of small people for the week. As soon as they’re back doing proper jobs you can have your UC Forum notes too.