50-Plus Databank – free SIM cards for older people

A young woman wearing a HausOfShee top and a much older African-Caribbean man. They are examining the contents of a SIM card pack.
Whitney, Data Bank SIM card, Walter

50-Plus Digital has joined the National Databank scheme

The National Databank

You can read about this scheme at the main website – goodthingsfoundation.org/databank

Think of it like a food bank but for internet connectivity data – a free SIM card with a free mobile data plan.

Our local 50-Plus Databank

The scheme has started. You can read about it on page The 50-Plus Databank.

Cost of Living for older people

Cost of Living. An older woman using a bank ATM, with a slightly apprehensive expression.

Cost of Living Information Event

NB: this event has finished.

Find out where and how to get help with energy bills, food, benefits and mobile phone data

Why

The aim of this event is to provide you with information and practical support on four priority areas affected by the cost of living crisis: money, energy, food and staying connected.

  • Encourage you to claim pension credit if you are eligible
  • Help you practically to access other sources of financial support where those sources require referral by a professional, or where digital support with online forms is required.
  • To provide information about where and how you can access free or subsidised food and data connectivity.
  • To reassure you that help with energy/utility bills is available if you are struggling, and where you can go for advice if you need it.

What

  • We will start at 10:15 am with short presentations on each of the focus areas: energy, food, staying connected and money
  • This will be followed by 15 mins Q&A or open floor discussion.
  • Then you can collect a handout pack, get a cup of tea or coffee, and circulate between the tables to talk to staff, ask questions, request referrals etc.
  • We will finish at 12 pm.
  • There will be lunch for people staying on for the Digital Drop-in that starts at 1pm.

When

  • Wednesday morning 21 September, 10:15 am to 12 noonbefore the afternoon Digital Dropin.

Where

  • Mildmay Community Centre,
    Woodville Rd,
    N16 8NA
  • Transport information, map and other details at 50pd.uk/#support

Who

  • If you are 50 or better, this is for you – wherever you live.

Organised by MRS – Independent Living

Financially-related digital support afternoons – 10 & 17 August 2022

Wednesday 10 August

NB: these events have finished.

This was the first of two urgent sessions for older people who need help to apply for Council tax energy rebate or Pension Credit and cost of living payment — before it is too late to claim.

35 people turned up — most needing this extra support — so we were very busy. Even with nine helpers (including the industrious CSR team from Methods), we had not quite finished, so we will carry on next week.

We didn’t have time to make photos.

Pension Credit and the cost of living payment

Notes on applying for Pension Credit

Updated 18 August 2022

These notes and links are for learners and volunteers at our Wednesday afternoon Mildmay Community Centre drop-in.

By the way – we cannot provide financial advice of any kind; it’s not what we do.

The 18 August 2022 deadline

  • The deadline for the full £650 Cost of Living payment was Thursday 18 August 2022.
  • To get the full £650, you must have qualified for Pension Credit between 26 April and 25 May 2022.
  • But Pension Credit applications can be backdated for three months so 18 August 2022 was the final cut-off date to start a claim for the Cost of Living payment.

If you live with someone else

  • If you live with someone else, even if that person is not your partner — you must provide information about benefits that person receives.

Pension Credit Calculator

Links for Pension Credit and Cost of Living Payment

Goverment links

Video


Are you looking for information about the Council Tax Energy Rebate? Visit our blog post Council tax energy rebate

Council tax energy rebate

Notes on applying for the energy rebate

Updated 14 November 2022

These notes and links are for learners and volunteers at our Wednesday afternoon Mildmay Community Centre drop-in.

Important to understand – the rebate is not a grant from your borough council. It is a payment from central government, administered by the council in their own way.

By the way – we cannot provide financial advice of any kind; it’s not what we do.

Links for the energy rebate

If you pay Council Tax by direct debit

If you pay your Council Tax by direct debit you should have have received your rebate already — you don’t need the support offered on this page.

If you do NOT pay Council Tax by direct debit

You should apply to your local authority as soon as possible.

Deadlines

If you receive Council Tax Reduction
  • Bands A to D your deadline was 14 November 2022.
  • Bands E to H your deadline was 14 November 2022.
If you do NOT receive Council Tax Reduction
  • Bands A to D your deadline was 31 August 2022.
  • Bands E to H you are not eligible for the rebate.

A. Find your property reference number

  1. Visit the government web page gov.uk/council-tax-bands
  2. Click / tap on the button labelled Start now — then follow the instructions. This does not take long, but it is not easy for digital beginners. If you are stuck, please ask a helper.
  3. Eventually, you will land on a page that shows your property reference number (write it down now) — and also (if you were not sure) confirmation of your local authority and Council Tax band.

B. Do you have an email address you can use effectively?

Possession of an email address is not always enough. Ask yourself these questions …

  • Do you know your correct email address?
  • Can you open your email on the device you use most often? Or – if you don’t have a device of your own – can you open your email on one of our training laptops or tablets?

If your answer to those questions is no, you should probably apply for your rebate by phone (the numbers to call are on this page below).

If your answer is don’t know or not sure, please ask a helper to send you an email so you can check before you do anything else.

By the way – should we tell the council our email address?
  • Yes — if you are totally confident that you are able — in all circumstances, now and in the future — to read, act on, and reply to email sent by the council. At least one nearby council will stop sending you conventional letters if you give them an email address.

C. Do you know your bank account details?

  • You will need your account number and sort code.

D. Register with GrantApproval.co.uk

This step is difficult for digital beginners, but required for online applications. You will need …

  • Your Council Tax account number.
  • Your property reference number.
  • A phone number.
  • An email address.
  • A password for grantapproval.co.uk (please write it down as soon as you have made it).
  • To register, visit web page grantapproval.co.uk
  • Follow the instructions.
  • When you have finished at grantapproval.co.uk, remember to log out.

Are you looking for information about Pension Credit and/or the Cost of Living payment? Visit our blog post Pension Credit and the cost of living payment

R.I.P. Derek Prince

From 2006 until overwhelmed by illness, Derek was the mobile tech guru for older people.

Derek passed away Tuesday 19 July 2022.

Nobody has made a greater contribution to real social and digital inclusion in this area.

Photo: 50+ Digital Drop-in, Open School East (Rose Lipman building) – December 2014.


Note (16 August 2022) from John …

A very quiet man, always ready to help with us with our phones and laptop problems.

I certainly benefited along with a great many others with his help.

Considering the bewildering problems we came up against with our gadgets, it never seemed to faze Derek, and we invariably walked away content with his solutions.

Thank you Derek for being there.

Well remembered.


Also …


Left to right – Stephen, Trevor, Derek (December 2009)
Derek with Posh Club flyer, Open School East (January 2015)
Derek in action at Open School East (December 2014)

Return of the volunteer teams – Methods – 13 July 2022

Volunteer teams from city firms have always – for least 12 years – been the most popular attraction at the digital drop-in. Then the pandemic stopped all CSR events – even before the first lockdown.

So we were delighted to welcome our first team for three years, from Methods — who provided effective 1:1 help for at least 15 older people — and incidentally reduced the pressure on our regular peer support team, so the total number helped was more than 30.