The Christmas 2018 meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group is here.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Friday the 30th of November 2018.

We meet at 9.30 for a 10am start.

Jane Hobson from Trafford Welfare Rights will be leading off a discussion on Universal Credit under full service fresh from talking to the Money Advice Group in Manchester on the same subject and refereeing a room full of GMWRAG members v Neil Couling.

The meeting is held in in the Community Room at Central Manchester Fire Station, Cassidy Close off Thompson Street, Manchester M4 5FP. It’s a short walk from Piccadilly and there is a car park on Thompson Street.

The Community room has its own entrance.  Please don’t enter the Fire Station by any other entrance.

From Cassidy Close you take the first left. Walk towards the building and then turn left again. You should now be at the back of the building. Walk towards a set of double doors under an overhang. The entrance to the Community Room is on the right just before you reach the double doors.

If you have any problems finding the room, you can call Helen Rogers on 07800 617 866.

As this will be our last meeting before Christmas, we’ll be going for lunch afterwards.

All are welcome to join us.

NB: The minutes of the last GMWRAG meeting remain in draft form as a number of very kind people have emailed in their own notes/recollections of the day (and indeed dodgy photographs) and we’re trying to incorporate these into the excellent minutes received from Trafford so we ensure we have covered all the bases. If anyone else has notes from the day which they’re happy to email in to gmwrag at Hotmail dot co dot uk this would be much appreciated.

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Final update on the GMWRAG meeting.

GMWRAG can now confirm that the Friday meeting in Trafford is now effectively a “sell out”. Everything attendees need to know about the meeting can still be found in our post at https://gmwrag.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/your-all-in-one-gmwrag-post-on-gmwrag-in-trafford

As an update on that post:

  • All attendees had to let GMWRAG know directly they wanted a place. The meeting is now at capacity so anyone thinking they can just turn up on the day as per previous GMWRAG meetings will be turned away. We’ve not done this before and, whilst it does feel rather extraordinary, there’s a first time for everything.
  • Anyone thinking of attending for only part of the day is actively encouraged to not do so.
    • It’s unfair on those people who would like to attend for the whole day.
    • In another first, a waiting list was created as soon as we hit capacity.
    • If you can’t attend for the day then please don’t attend and we can give your place to someone on the waiting list.
  • This is a business meeting with very clearly defined aims. If you’re not going to participate in any future GM UC forum then there’s little point in attending.
  • If you cannot attend at all please let us know ASAP as we can offer your place to people on the waiting list.

NB: Anyone who chooses to attend for only part of the day will be given no priority for tickets for the free GMWRAG/GMSCG/NWMHWRAG EA 10 equalities and welfare benefits event being run in January 2019. That will also be limited to 50 and for the first time will be ticketed (free) via Eventbrite.

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

The next meeting will on Friday the 28th of September 2018 at 9.30am for a 10am start.

We have changed venue. This meeting will be in the Community Room at Central Manchester Fire Station, Cassidy Close off Thompson Street, Manchester M4 5FP.

It’s a short walk from Piccadilly and there is a car park on Thompson Street.

The Community Room has its own entrance. Please don’t enter the Fire Station by any other entrance.

From Cassidy Close you take the first turning on the left. Walk towards the building and then turn left again. You should now be at the back of the building. Walk towards a set of double doors under an overhang. The entrance to the Community Room is on the right just before you reach the double doors.

We don’t have a speaker for this meeting, so it will be an information exchange.

We are looking for a speaker on Universal Credit for a future meeting, so if anyone knows someone who could talk to us about hints and tips on claiming under Full Service, please contact Helen Rogers.

We had been looking for a speaker on the Equality Act and Jo Chimes of the Equality and Diversity Forum has kindly agreed to speak to us. She has worked alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission on this issue.  As a number of other groups in the area have also approached Jo to speak at their meetings, we are holding this meeting in conjunction with GMWRAG and the Greater Manchester Strategic Casework Group.  This means the meeting will be a day long event and will be on Friday the 18th of January 2019. More details are already available at https://gmwrag.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/gmwrag-attempts-to-bend-time-and-space-2019-here-we-come-with-another-big-announcement although it’s unlikely all NWMHWRAG members can be accommodated as the room holds 50 people and both GMWRAG and GMSCG members will want to attend.

GMWRAG attempts to bend time and space. 2019 here we come with another big announcement.

GMWRAG is busy compiling a list of the many UC issues you have kindly sent us in order to put together a draft agenda for our October meeting in Trafford to agree with the office of our special guest, Neil Couling, the Director General of the Universal Credit Programme.

In the meantime, we are pleased to announce initial details of the January 2019 GWMRAG meeting and we hope GMWRAG members will be as excited by this as we are.

GMWRAG, Tameside WRS, NWMHWRAG and GMSCG presents

“Everyday Equality: challenging discrimination in the welfare benefits system” featuring Jo Chimes and a whole lot more.

The meeting is hosted by Tameside. It is a full day event and will take place at the LGBT Foundation, 5 Richmond Street, Manchester, M1 3HF on Friday the 18th of January 2019 We’ll be open for refreshments, networking and juicy gossip for 9:30am with a planned running time of 10am to 4pm.

This will be the northern version of the excellent event run for those grim southerners by Jo in May 2018. You can read more about that here and we recommend all potential attendees download a copy of the absolutely invaluable “Practical Equality Rights in Welfare Benefits Advice” in advance of attending.

As we’re limited to 50 attendees we’ll be using a GMWRAG Eventbrite account and asking people to book through that for the first time. There is no cost attached to this. It’s just a practical way of managing numbers. As NWMHWRAG members attempted to book Jo first we’re going to attempt to put out some early bird tickets exclusively for them but no promises on that. We’re still figuring it out. Registration is not yet available. We will post when it goes live.

An agenda for the day plus details of any additional speakers will be posted as soon as finalised but you can realistically expect this to be post the Trafford meeting in October as that is currently fully occupying the GMWRAG hive mind.

The ink still wet minutes of the probably not even finished last meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

The minutes of the latest meeting of the NWMHWRAG are already available as are the notes from the talk on claiming the mobility component of PIP for people with mental health conditions. Both documents will as ever be stored permanently within the relevant NWMHWRAG pages, and if you wish to check you’ll find they’re already there.

Related to the above the RF High Court Judgement can be found at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/3375.html and there is an addendum to the notes from the talk:

Psychological distress is defined in the Interpretation to the PIP descriptors as “distress related to an enduring mental health condition or an intellectual or cognitive impairment.”

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

We’re really going to have to find a more original way of saying this but the next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Thursday the 26th of July 2018 at 9.30am for a 10am start.

The venue is Room 226 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The address is:

Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, 4 Rosamond Street West, Manchester M15 6LL.

There is an entrance on Oxford Road, directly opposite the Aquatics centre, or a wheelchair accessible entrance just off Rosamund St. West. The best place for car parking is the NCP at the Aquatics centre.   There is a café on site where you can buy tea/coffee etc.

IHelen Rogers is going to do a talk on claiming the mobility the mobility component of PIP for claimants with mental health conditions.

Volunteers for chairing and taking the minutes are required.

An invitation to GMWRAG members to take part in something a little bit different.

Elaine Craig, a Masters Psychology Student at Manchester Metropolitan University. who joined the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group along with Kim Heyes in November 2017, would like to inform you of a research project she is doing which is relevant to GMWRAG members.She’d like to ask whether the any GMWRAG members would consider taking part in a reformation agenda Focus Group. The aim is to review the current statutory out-of-work and back-to-work support experienced by individuals with mental health challenges in order to develop a more suitable intervention.

The study is called An Analysis of Workplace Wellbeing Supporting a ‘Staying Well at Work’ Intervention’.

There is evidence highlighting current statutory back-to-work process are inappropriate financially penalising and patronising people who cannot/do not engage. Workshops are job-seeker orientated and do not address mental health challenges specific to the workplace. Enhancing this understanding will enable us to develop a person-centered intervention, supporting people who want to get back into employment after a period of ill health. The findings of which, we will feed back to the DWP.

Focus group participants’ need have a working knowledge of the statutory welfare framework and practitioner experience of real life challenges faces by individuals trying to access support. They will be asked if they would like to participate in an informal discussion with four other group members, lasting approximately 60 minutes (but no longer than 90 minutes) at Manchester Metropolitan University.

GMWRAG have years of experience in supporting this vulnerable group and your support would be greatly appreciated. Additionally I am more than willing to come to the next meeting and give a 5 minute presentation about the research proposal should this be suitable.

Please find below an overview of the study, which will inform your considerations and feel free to contact Elaine should you have any further questions by either ringing 07730 032 826 or emailing elaine.m.craig@stu.mmu.ac.uk

Focus Group Particpant Information Sheet

Workplace Wellbeing poster

The minutes of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group are now available for download.

The minutes of the last meeting of the North West Mental Health Advisers Group (NWMHWRAG) are now available for download and will be permanently available from their pages within our site.

Additionally a copy of the revised Mission Statement of the group can be downloaded from here and will be found permanently within their pages.