Our trainTraining Info - Aug 2015ing courses started with courses based around the Big Book of Benefits and  Mental Health.

In fact you could say it was the other way round – as the Big Book developed from the training packs for the first Benefits and Mental Health 2 day course.

Over the years, satisfied customers have asked for courses focussing on other client groups  or specific benefits. We have then a range of courses and are are looking at other Big Books to reflect this, starting with the  generic Your Big Book of Benefits.

We offer the current range of training courses .

We can though adapt and draw on any of  these courses to tailor to your requirements or develop a completely new course. Courses can be delivered with a mental health bias, a generic one  or adapted to other groups and your specific needs.

With growing demand and big benefits changes, Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health author Judy Stenger teamed up with fellow trainer and   benefits bod Tom Messere,  so that between us we could say “Yes” to more requests for  and deliver a wider range of courses and so www was born.

Sadly Judy  became  ill soon after and and passed away in November 2012. Tom continues to deliver Big Book of Benefits courses in association with other trainers in tune with the Big Book approach of informal, friendly and even humorous training.

Tom also trains on behalf of other providers such as CPAG, Community Housing Cymru and Ferret Information Systems.

What are  the courses like?

First time course participants – especially those who are not advisers – often approach a benefits training day with some dread. Their experience of benefits to date may be that they seem hard, complex, full of regulations and sums and dry as dust. They know that attending a course might be useful and very improving,, but in the same way as cod liver oil or double maths on a Tuesday afternoon!

Often we get feedback from people saying that to their surprise they felt not only that some lightbulbs had come on about benefits while to their surprise even enjoyed the course.

We aim to:

  • empower and enable: (even if there may be a touch of despair on the way) so you leave feeling you  can make a real difference
  • keep it relevant and practical to participants daily roles
  • make materials and slides  lively and involving
  • vary our methods:  presentations and case studies are complemented by  drawing pictures, line dancing, videos, fun quizzes*, group and pair work discussions
  • be flexible:  a strong underlying structure, but a willingness to adjust to the needs of the group and the day.
  • learn from each other: building on the ideas, experience and wisdom of the group, while even a beginner’s question can make you think!
  • keep it fun: it’s serious stuff, but a relaxed approach and humour (hopefully appropriate and respectful) can help.

* it can be scarey just how competitive a room full of nice caring professionals can get when the papers fly and the quiz is on!

Who are the courses  for?

Anyone 🙂

Increasingly, people with no previous roles are finding people calling in with benefits issues on their mind, and a little awareness can help them signpost effectively. Others are helping people with certain key forms as part of a general support role and wonder about the best way to support claims. Others are wanting to develop the skills to challenge DWP decisions to appeal if needs be.

Past course participants have included:  service users, carers groups, volunteers,  support workers, CPNs, social workers,  councillors, housing officers and  welfare rights advisers.

We have  split  the the current range of training courses into:

  • those aimed at the complete beginner
  • those aimed at people with some benefits familiarity, wanting to spend time with a particular benefit or get an update
  • those with a more specialist benefits role or  experience

We can adapt each course to the level of the group and would check that with you. A welfare reform course may be too much for complete beginners, so we would suggest An Introduction to Changing benefits instead. Or a course on ESA can be a general introduction for those new to the benefit to a targeted session for support workers to empower them to take cases to appeal.

We can then –  adapt and mix and match courses – to provide something that we hope suits your training needs, in both content and level of previous knowledge assumed.

                Please contact:                   to discuss your requirements

How to book a course

In house courses

Have up to 16 people wanting a course? And a venue in mind near you to hold it in? We have courses and we can travel. We have delivered courses across the UK from Glasgow to Winchester

You book a course whether just for people in your own organisation or offering spare places to partner organisations. You decide the venue, refreshments and lunch arrangements.

Our competitive standard charge is £550 a day or £950 for a 2 day course plus tutor expenses and £10 per participant. This includes course, preparation  and travel time.

The £10 per participant fee covers materials and a free copy of the latest Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health, as a companion, resource and practical toolkit as participants go out and turn training theory into income changing practice. The contents and tools of the Big Book reaches beyond mental health,while benefit sums are universal.

With a maximum of 16 people this can mean that training works out at as little as  £35 per person per day on a 2-day couse or £45 on a 1-day. Further discounts apply if you are a regular customer or book more than 1 course

A training Programme ?

Perhaps you only have 1 or 2 people and would prefer just to book a place on a a course that is part of a published programme.

As a small freelance operation, we have been a  constrained from delivering our own “book a place” programme of courses.  Instead, we have delivered courses on behalf of other providers such as Ferret Information Systems or Child Poverty Action Group or in partnership with others

Our first collaboration to deliver distinct Big Book training has been in partnership with Community Housing Cymru,  as part of their Your Benefits are Changing campaign. Two series of courses have been delivered around a specially commissioned Your Big Book of Benefits. CHC are restructuring and we hope to deliver a new range of courses in the future.

We also hope to work with other  partner to offer some of our more distinctive Big Book courses within their training programmes, such as our 2 day Benefits and Mental Health course. Watch this space.

In the meantime, do have a think about whether you might not be able to link up with other organisations in your area, to make enough particiapants, and we can come to you, which may work out much less costly.

We have courses and we will travel

Do contact us on to arrange a time to discuss your training needs and a practical way we might help


2 responses to “Training

  1. why are you charging 550 per day and then stating that if 16 people chip in the price is 30 per head. my maths makes it 16 people @ 30 per head = 480. where does the 550 come from? have i missed something…

  2. Your maths is right, but the from £30 per day refers to the cost per person per day on one of our 2 day courses, which cot less than 2×1 day to reflect a single round of travel and preparation time. Yes it would be a bit more for a one day course. We have held these already competitive prices prices steady since 2010

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