A new Big Book of Benefits & other news

Spring is in the air and Happy St. David’s Day / Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus 🙂🌞

A quick update on “What’s occurring?” for Big Books generally and to help with the hunt for a new edition of the Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health

Changes at Big Books

Over recent years, I have welcomed the opportunity to keep the Big Books light burning, while keeping my feet grounded and a bit of financial security in working part time as an adviser. But that has also constrained how much time I could put into the Big Book of benefits Project.

Last Autumn was a big and difficult choice time. My part time post was going, but an awesome, full time vacancy was offered instead. A big move to the big city would be involved and with it being strictly full time only, it would have involved putting Big Books on a bit of a backburner 😦

After much pondering, exploring and agonising , heart has ruled head, Big Book of benefits it is, and you are stuck with me and wild plans to post more of news, happenings and content on this site and on our facebook page. And one of those is our involvement in a project to offer some free training across Wales…

Dangos: Showing People Ways to help others

We are now heavily involved in delivering a big project offering free online awareness training sessions funded by the Welsh Government . The idea is very “Big Books” in nature to train up frontline staff and volunteers across Wales to raise awareness of benefits, barriers andother help available to the people they come across in their working and volunteering roles.

The idea is to help people be more confident and better informed and more aware listeners, better able to hold conversations with people and encourage them to get to advice and support to access the help they need. To encourage people that it is worth talking to an adviser and to support them in linking up with one. You can find out more at: https://www.dangos.wales

The Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health – April 2021-22

When I last posted, on our Facebook page, we had worked out the eccentric notion of making it a 2021 Annual, running from January 2021 to January 2022, as this seemed the earliest practical way to release a new edition of the Big Book.

So what happened to ? Well, it’s back to a conventional April 2021/22 edition now, for a couple of reasons:

  • While the new rates were mostly out, some dragged their heels into February , others have been put off to this month’s Budget. That includes big decisions affecting many of our readers, such as whether or not to continue the vital extra £20 on UC and what next for the other Covid special schemes?
  • the rapid pace of kickstarting the Dangos project mentioned above. This diverts a little, but is doing good Big Books type work and gives Big Book of Benefits a bit of a financial base to make things happen

So, your Big Book authors, have now exchanged hard stares over Zoom – scary I can tell you 🙂 – and committed in blood – or vegetarian equivalent 🙂 – to very firm plans for getting the new edition out.

  • The next step will be a bit of a pre-launch at the next gathering of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers – www.nawra.org.uk – alongside a Big Books presentation of recent benefit changes to advisers from across the UK.
  • The new and upcoming edition of the Big Book will then incorporate all of those latest changes and sharing of information and ideas into a final updated copy with all the final fiddly stuff of page numbering, proofing and all else that goes into the birthing of a new edition, over the course of March.
  • The new edition will then emerge all shiny, sheeny new and so on trend and on time, as the Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health – April 2021/22 .

The new edition will be available as an e-publication from the start. Printing is a bit trickier in these lockdown times, but we hope to offer that printed book option, as soon as we can.

Updating the website

Meantime, here at our website, it’s high time for a much needed spring clean, to brush off the cobwebs (after carefully re-homing all spiders ) . In recent months it has looked as though nothing much has been happening although in practise little feet have been paddling furiously 🙂 . So in coming weeks the plan is to update all of our pages to make this site a little bit more hip, happening and useful 🙂.

Stand by for news of cunning plans ahead, our renewed training offers adding online training options to when we hope to renew “in house” training courses . There will be lots of updated and new free resources and information on our downloads page.

Enough already…

Have a happy Spring day and I hope to be posting more news, more regularly on this site and announcements about the patter of not too tiny print soon 🙂

Tom

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