NAWRA in Wales.

GMWRAG used to be really good at notifying you all about NAWRA meetings. Indeed we used to make our web site do clever things like count down to the day of the meeting but then… well then we just got too busy. So here we are with 3 days left to go to the next NAWRA meeting and we can probably no longer refer to them as “our friends in NAWRA” as we keep messing this up. Anyway…

All NAWRA members are invited to attend their quarterly conference.

Date: Friday the 6th of March 2020.
Time: 10.00am – 16.00pm (registration from 9.30)
Location: Swansea Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3SN

Guest speakers will be Fran Bennett of Oxford University on recent research about universal credit and couples followed by Lisa Reese, a tribunal judge, on the role of representatives.

There will be participatory workshops on mixed age couples in UC, conditionality in UC and public law remedies, support for disabled people in UC, and assessing mental health for PIP.

Download the agenda

NAWRA meetings are only open to members.  There’s no need to book a place.  Please let them know if you have any accessibility needs.

GMWRAG has fond memories of their first visit to NAWRA being a trip to Swansea approximately 30 years ago in the back of a some kind of van with people from Flintshire Welfare Rights. Nowadays there would be a hashtag attached to that and some kind of legal action! Nowadays we think the train may be an option.

Friday On My Mind.

The agenda for this Friday’s GMWRAG meetings in Bury is now available for download. Please note that this is the agenda for both meetings i.e. the GMWRAG GM UC Forum meeting in the morning and the GMWRAG meeting itself in the afternoon. The agenda is of course a movable feast so if you have any agenda items you’d like to add for a.m. or p.m. please contact our host as per the agenda.

A quick reminder that our guest speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training, Advice and  Information Manager from our friends at Housing Systems and the subject will be “UC and turning Pension Age. What’s going wrong? And what can we do about it?”.

Speaker announced for the Bury/Bolton GMWRAG meeting.

Following on from our recent announcement of the first GMWRAG foray into the wilds of Bury for decades we’re pleased to confirm our speaker and subject matter. The final agenda should be with you on Monday the 24th of February 2020. The meeting(s) for those of you pathologically incapable of clicking on a link or browsing the recent entries on this site are of course this coming Friday, the 28th of February 2020.

Our guest speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training, Advice and  Information Manager from our friends at Housing Systems and the subject will be “UC and turning Pension Age. What’s going wrong? And what can we do about it?”.

To boldly go where no man has gone before (ish!)! Yes, it’s a GMWRAG meeting and a GMWRAG GM UC Forum.

GMWRAG is pleased to announce the venue for our next a.m. GMWRAG GM UC Forum and p.m. GMWRAG meeting.

Now, you might not unreasonably have concluded from that heading that, yes, we’ve abandoned Bolton and we’re going to torture you with Oldham in January once again but, no, you’d be wrong.

We have been unable to find a suitable venue in Bolton but we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that we can in fact return to a part of GM where GMWRAG, if not exactly a stranger, certainly hasn’t been seen since at least 1997. Indeed our current minutes page sadly shows not a single entry for… (small fanfare played by people currently fighting the windy weather in order to stand upright)… Bury.

Yes, you read that right. GMWRAG is going to Bury.

Now, somewhere under the “GMWRAG desk” there are boxes of “things” yet to be scanned and uploaded to this site. We’re sure that amongst them we will find (and no doubt go all misty eyed about) the minutes from our last visit to Bury. We’re fairly confident it was the mid-1990s though and Andrew Grealey would have been Principal Officer (Welfare Rights) with Don Williams lurking to one side.

So, anyway, the next GMWRAG GM UC Forum will take place at Citizens Advice Bury with a 9:30am cocktails networking/refreshments for 10:00am start. We’ll aim for a 12:30pm finish.

The p.m. only GMWRAG meeting will open at 1:30pm for cocktails networking/refreshments for a 2:00pm start and a 4:00pm finish.

Please note that the address for the day is

Citizens Advice Bury and Bolton
St Johns House, 155-163 The Rock
Manchester BL9 0ND

Although it says Manchester we think (and the post code suggests) it is very much in Bury (and most definitely not in Bolton).

Our (shivering) man in the north suggests that “Walking from central Bury you will pass the Wilko store on your left, continue towards the junction and we will be on your left in front of the Viet Village restaurant.”.

Our man in the north completely forgot to tell us which way you actually walk from central Bury or that there’s 10 Wilko’s in Bury but more than 20 years after our last visit we’re confident that modern developments like post codes; sat nav; Google Maps (and even Apple Maps) will get you there. Since we were last there they’ve also invented buses and trams (possibly).

So, no excuses, in line with our recent tendency to geographical waywardness the Bolton GMWRAG will most definitely be in Bury and, er, we forgot the date didn’t we…

Ahem, this will all take place fairly quickly on Friday the 28th of February 2020.

As yet we have no speaker confirmed for the p.m. meeting but agenda for both meetings will be published as soon as we can.

Europe comes to Bury.

Europe. Remember “them”? Europia does and in unsettling times they’re busy running sessions on the European Settlement Scheme. The latest of these sessions will be at Citizens Advice Bury and Bolton. This is an open session, which we think means that no appointments are required, and it will take place on Wednesday the 12th of February 2020 between 10:00am – 12:00pm. The Bureau address is 155-163 The Rock, Bury BL9 0ND. GMWRAG was highly amused when we were asked to publicise this session to see the address suffixed with “UK”. It did occur to us that if you were going to run such sessions outside of the UK…

Make Yer Mind Up.

Sigh. No sooner had we put up this post than we’ve been advised that NWMHWRAG do in fact now have a speaker. GMWRAG is not of course in a position to comment having failed conspicuously to pull off a January meeting.

Julie Conneely, Disability Employment Adviser at Openshaw JobcentrePlus will be coming to speak.

Ends (or something).

Well, that’s all we’ve got folks.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group. We’re really sorry but we’re running out of original titles for these posts.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will take place on Friday the 7th of February 2020.

Please arrive at 9.30am for a prompt start at 10am.

They don’t have a confirmed speaker for this meeting, so it will be an Information Exchange.

Please note change of usual date and venue.

There will be no meeting on the 31st of January 2020. That meeting has moved to the 7th of February 2020.

The meeting will be at Greater Manchester Law Centre at the Jain Centre, 667-669 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester, M12 4QE.

Outmoded forms of transport: The centre is on the A6 between (little) Asda and Crowcroft Park. There is a car park at the centre.

Equally outmoded form of transport: You can get the train to Levenshulme. As you come out of the train station, turn left onto Albert Road, then turn left again at the T-junction with Stockport Road.

The Law Centre is a short walk north (i.e. towards the city centre) on your right shortly after you pass Asda.

Possibly franchised transport: Get on the 192 bus from Piccadilly Gardens. This is on the side of the Gardens as you’re walking towards the railway station. No need to worry about timetables. You’re more likely to be run over by one than miss one. The centre is on left as you head south out of town on the A6, between Crowcroft Park and (little) Asda.

The centre is the smaller of the two buildings. When you arrive you need to press a buzzer and wait for someone to let you in.

Volunteers are needed to chair the meeting and take minutes.

And after one slow post comes along, here comes another.

The Manchester Money Advice Group have announced their meeting dates for 2020. Venues and speakers to no doubt be confirmed. Whilst not all MAG meetings are GMWRAG members it’s obvious that the overlap between debt and welfare rights gets larger by the year so we will be endeavouring to keep you up to date with MAG events from this point forward.

Anyway, the dates for your diaries are

Wednesday the 4th of March 2020.

Tuesday the 2nd of June 2020.

Friday the 11th of September 2020.

Tuesday the 8th of December 2020.

The first GMWRAG member to mutter a question about why can’t we have our meetings of different days of the week will be taken outside and spoken to. We’ve had that debate repeatedly over the years and the outcome is always the same. No-one can agree a “better” day for “most” people who want to attend and so we stick with Friday.

GMLCAGM – oh come on. It’s not that hard to figure out!

GMWRAG members should already be aware Greater Manchester Law Centre has moved to 669 Stockport Road, Longsight, Manchester M12 4QE (next to the Jain Centre). Why should you be aware? Well, because we told you.

GMLC want to work closely with local community organisations.

They have a new director, Jason Tetley, starting work middle of November. The first opportunity to meet Jason will be at their Annual General Meeting, to be held in our new premises on Thursday the 28th of November 2019 at 6pm. Presumably tea will be on offer?

GMLC would be pleased if members of your organisation could attend. You will hear about their progress so far, get a chance to meet the law centre workers and volunteers and contribute to developing our future plans.

GMWRAG thinks this is like one of those Facebook parties where a well meaning 16 year old throws a party and then an entire neighbourhood turns up. Go on. Make their day 🙂