About Us

Judy Stenger (1963-2012)

was  a welfare rights worker for many years, including 13 years spent working with Mind service users and Community Mental Health Teams in Neath Port Talbot, where Terri now delivers benefits advice tailor made to the needs of service users.

Since she first produced the annual Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health in 1999, it has established a widespread reputation for its accessibility and ease of use.

Her expertise in this area was reflected by her ongoing association with Mind Cymru and Mind UK  for occasional consultancy and policy work, the publication of the Big Book and a regular appearance on the Child Poverty Action Group’s training programme.

She also appeared in front of the Work and Pensions Select Committees and other Parliamentary groups, contributed to Adviser and Benefits the Journal of Social Justice and was a columnist for Mental Health Today and Pendulum magazines.

She continued as a ‘hands on’ benefits practitioner in her role as a benefits adviser with Maggie’s, until her final illness.

Tom  Messere

has been an adviser for over 25 years, starting as a volunteer with Citizens Advice, when Income Support was the coming thing billed as  “the biggest change since Beveridge”.  Since then he has worked with local authority welfare rights and social inclusion teams,  housing associations and cancer charities. He currently keeps his training and writing grounded   as a part/time benefits adviser.

Over the years he has been particularly involved in  training and writing for different audiences, whether trying to find fresh and relevant ways to explain well established benefits or at the cutting edge of welfare reform.

More recently he has worked as a tutor with the Workers Education Association to develop one of the first Open College Network / Agored accredited benefit courses.

He has trained on behalf of CPAG and regularly runs workshops at gatherings of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA) and Welfare Rights Advisers Cymru (WRAC)

He serves on the committees of both organisations and has been widely involved in campaigning and policy work: consultations, ministerial meetings etc. In his day jobs he has been involved in casework, take up campaigns, writing, training, developing services, supporting advisers and policy work.

His writings have varied from leaflets, newsletters and self help packs for all,  training guids to the benefits system, and consultation responses.

He worked jointly with Judy on the Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health continuing  in her sad absence. Community Housing Cymru liked the book so much that they have commissioned their own more generic  version, Your Big Book of Benefits.

He also writes  a “Welfare Writes” column in Mental Health Today magazine, jointly produces and updates  NAWRA’s Benefits Changes Chart and blogs regularly in his day job.

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