Next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group – Questions for the DWP.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group (NWMHWRAG) takes place on Friday the 24th of November 2017 as detailed on their pages within the GMWRAG site. Minutes of the last meeting remain available for download but we’d like to remind attendees that the November meeting should include a session with DWP Partnership Managers for full service Universal Credit areas. NWMHWRAG are asking for questions in advance in order to minimise the need for questions to be “taken back”.

Questions should be directed to Helen Rogers at Stockport by no later than Wednesday the 1st of November 2017. This does not prevent questions being asked on the day. It just maximises the chances of having full answers on the day.

Attendees should already know how to contact Helen. GMWRAG is generally reluctant to put contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers on this site as we have history on this opening up inappropriate lines of contact for clients looking for advice as well as resulting in advisers being spammed.

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Countdown to the October the 6th GMWRAG meeting in Oldham.

We posted full details of the next GMWRAG meeting as far back as the 12th of July 2017. To save yourself (well, us) some time, you can have a look at that post now.  Everything you need is in there. The date, the time, the place , how to get there and even tentative details of a speaker.

A quick hint. It’s a full day meeting on Friday the 6th of October 2017 (that bit wot is in the title of this post) and you’re still going to have to read that previous post and remember to bring your own minutes from the last meeting.

We’re waiting for final confirmation on our morning speaker but we can confirm that our afternoon speaker will definitely be Vivien Robinson, DWP Partnership Manager, who will be talking about the local roll out of full service Universal Credit from 2:00pm onward.

Some of you may remember that in a previous post we detailed an update to UC roll out and this included the news that Oldham was rolling out from April 2017.

As soon as our a.m. speaker is confirmed the full agenda will be published here.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

The next meeting of the NWMHWRAG will take place on Friday the 29th of September 2017 at 9.30am for 10am start.

We do not have an outside speaker this time, but we will have an information exchange for people to discuss issues/ask questions/canvass others’ opinions on welfare rights issues.

The meeting will be in Room 2001 at Manchester Town Hall.

Robin Serjeant from Manchester City Council will add everyone on the NWMHWRAG mailing list to the attendees of the meeting so that you can access the room.  He will then send an email out with instructions of how to find the room.  If anyone who is not on this mailing list wants to attend the meeting, please let Helen Rogers have their email address.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The next GMWRAG meeting. A date for your diaries/Outlook calendars; scrawls on the back of your hand/post-it notes attached to your PC monitor.

GMWRAG is pleased to announce that our next meeting will take place on Friday the 6th of October 2017 and will be hosted by Oldham Welfare Rights Service in the Lees Suite, Level 2, Civic Centre, West Street Oldham  OL1 1UT. This can be accessed by coming into the building by the Rochdale Road entrance where previous meetings have been held.

Public transport to and from Oldham is straightforward nowadays. Trams run every 12 minutes from Manchester Victoria station and take approximately 23 minutes or less depending on where you get off. You can download Metrolink apps for your smart phone that will give you the same live data as their web site

Those of you with cars can enter the above post code into your sat nav or use a map. GMWRAG also recommends a quick read of Pinpoint by Greg Milner and perhaps turning your sat nav off 🙂

One speaker has already been tentatively secured for this meeting and we’re in the process of securing a second. Agenda details will follow and you should all already be aware that the minutes of the last meeting are already available.

The minutes of the Stockport GMWRAG meeting are now available.

The minutes of the June 2017 GMWRAG meeting which took place in Stockport are now available for download from here and of course you can find them permanently on our Minutes page for which you will of course have the magic password. If you don’t then please either DM @GMWRAGtweets or email a GMWRAG member and they’ll be happy to oblige provided you are willing to delete, set fire to or eat any related communications.

The handouts from the session on hearing impairment and PIP can be found here and the case law pack from the session on sight impairment and DLA/PIP can be found here.

The next GMWRAG meeting is scheduled for Oldham in October 2017 and we’ll post up all the information you’ll need as soon as everything has been finalised.

Stockport GMWRAG meeting this Friday – a quick reminder.

In light of the sudden burst of activity on GMWRAG in the past 24 hours it has been pointed out that some people will lose sight of the fact that there is a GMWRAG meeting this Friday so, here you are, a quick reminder.

Everything you need can be found at https://gmwrag.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/the-stockport-gmwrag-meeting-is-here-speakers-public-transport-presenting-officers-and-biscuit-details-all-below and by “everything” we mean the venue details (apparently hoods are no longer required); transport details; the agenda and the minutes of the last meeting, which took place in the dim and distant place known as 2016. There are 2 speakers as previously detailed and there are, of course, biscuits.

We’ll see you there.

The Stockport GMWRAG meeting is here – Friday the 16th of June 2017. Speakers, public transport, presenting officers and biscuit details all below.

On the 10th of May 2017 GMWRAG quietly announced that the next meeting (indeed the first of 2017) would take place in Stockport. You can find that post here but we’re now in a position to provide you with full details and there are a lot of them. Please note that a number of key details have changed from that original post, not least the venue. Soooo…

The next GMWRAG meeting is a full day meeting and takes place in room 5 of Stockport Town Hall (NOT Fred Perry House as we originally suggested) on Friday the 16th of June 2017. Doors will open for refreshments, networking and those without any sense of direction at 9:30am for a 10:00am start.

The minutes of the last meeting can be downloaded from here and the full agenda can now be downloaded from here. Please print them off and bring them with you. GMWRAG hosts are no longer funded to provide copies on the day.

The meeting will have an update on the newly launched GM Strategic Casework Group. If you haven’t had a look at our pages then please do so. There will also be an opportunity to share experiences of the new tranche of Presenting Officers at First Tier Tribunals and both the morning and afternoon sessions will have speakers as detailed below.

GMWRAG was surprised to learn that in our near 4 decade existence we appear to have never had speakers talking about sensory impairment and benefits. Our friends at NAWRA have had workshop presentations from charities like RNIB (and even then maybe only the one) but our agendas and minutes suggest we have not. Hopefully the speakers at this meeting will whet the appetite for further work in this area.

Neither session will involve death by PowerPoint and there will be much in the way of handouts; quizzes; throwing things, er, discussion, interaction and some case law!

Stockport Town Hall, or the “spiritual home of GMWRAG” as it was recently described, is very easily accessed by rail and is a massive 4 minutes walk from Stockport railway station. GMWRAG recommends the train as absolutely the fastest way to get to (and from) Stockport from/to Manchester city centre. Journeys are between 7 and 14 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly station. Please note though that tickets on this route may only be valid for some trains e.g. Northern Trains tickets may not be valid on Virgin Trains and so on.

There are frequent buses and you can get full multi-modal travel information on this via the My TfGM journey planner but all will take considerably longer than the train. If you weren’t already aware, there is also an app available for your smartphone. Welfare rights advisers all have smart phones, don’t you!

If you’re driving in, there are several car parks nearby but you will pay a lot for a full day and the road system can be very confusing for anyone not familiar with the area. Don’t say we didn’t warn you 🙂

Oh, yeah, and the biscuits are on order.

Minutes of the last North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group plus speaker notes now available.

The minutes of the May 2017 meeting of the NWMHWRAG meeting are now available within their pages within this site. Along with these, speaker Dan Manville has kindly provided a copy of his notes and some guidance and these are available on their “Presentations to the group” page.

If you’re a member of the group then you’ll already know that the minutes are password protected and you’ll know the password. If you have a legitimate need for access to the minutes then please DM @GMWRAGTweets.

The date of the next meeting is already up on their pages. Full details of any future speakers will of course be posted as soon as we know them.

Urgent update for anyone thinking of attending tomorrows meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group in Manchester.

The next meeting of the NWMHWRAG takes place tomorrow in Manchester. Full details were contained in our previous post. A number of you may be coming along tomorrow to hear Dan Manville, Mental Health Welfare Rights Officer from Wolverhampton Council talking about Right to Reside cases.

Those of you who read the previous post about this meeting should be aware that entry to the venue requires you to notify of your attendance in advance as per the previous post. Group members on the mailing list have been reminded of the need to do this. However, those wishing to attend who are not on the email mailing list, need to also be aware of the need to do this.

So, there you go.

GMWRAG would like to also point out in light of recent events Manchester Victoria station remains closed to enable forensic analysis and there are a number of transport diversions in place. Please check relevant web sites for updates but, at the time of writing, the situation is as follows:

  • Metrolink:  Victoria station remains closed. The Bury line will stop at Queens Road. The Rochdale via Oldham line will finish at Monsall. There will be no Metrolink services calling or operating through Market Street, Shudehill or Manchester Victoria.
  • Buses: All bus services are operating but there are diversions in place to some services. There are replacment bus services operating from Central Park and Queens Road to Piccadilly Gardens (stand R), Piccadilly Station (Fairfield Street) and Shudehil (stand B).
  • Roads: As roads may be busier than usual, drivers have been advised to consider taking public transport where possible. Trinity Way has reopened to traffic in both directions, but many roads remain closed and highways are extremely busy. Deansgate is currently closed.