What's on in Stoke



We wanted to say a big “thank you” to the village now our project is finally getting started and we have our own place. We are just beginning the work to change the Methodist church into our very own Youth Centre. It’s going to be lots of hard work but really exciting!

Stoke is such a great place to live and grow up in, and we are very proud to be part of it. Thank you for making this happen!

Please take a look at our little film …


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News from your Village Agent

This month sees a focus on finances.

We are all aware that there is an increasing strain on our finances both individually and for the county and country as a whole. Universal Credit has again been in the media recently. Martin Lewis Money saving Expert.com Jan2019 discusses how universal credit cause debt through changing payments from advance to arrears forcing people to find a month’s rent and childcare ahead, reduced payments for disabled people and a 6 week wait before your first payment. In Somerset, the Trussell Trust’s food bank gave 658,048 people emergency supplies between April and September 2018, a 13% increase on 2017. (Trussel Trust.org). All this alongside the continued cuts to central government and Somerset County Council services leads more people into reduced circumstances.

If you are struggling with finances, it is important to seek help and not try to ignore it. Advise your utilities and rent providers to let them know your circumstances and to find out if they can support you with this. It is vital that rent and council tax are paid but repayment plans for other debts may be available. Do look at web information such as Money advice service www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk and Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert www.moneysavingexpert.com for ways to trim your budget with savvy buys and money saving schemes. Also take a look at a benefits calculator such as www.turn2us.org.uk to see if you are eligible for more financial support. The Citizen’s advice also hold drop in’s and are able to support with benefit claims and debt advice. They are able to give food bank vouchers. There are many drop in centres across Somerset. There are also some special tailored courses for those struggling with finances due to mental health conditions.

Check what discounts are available to you if you are on benefits such as the Warmer Homes Discount on electricity and gas bills, BT basic and reduced water bills. You may still be able to save money on bills such as car and home insurance and utilities or by changing from an expensive TV and broadband package to free view and finding alternative exercise plans such as a jogging group or local facilities over a gym membership. Call 0800336699 for the Government led Home Heat Helpline for access to social tariffs grants and free advice. Remember to check your contract in-case there are exit fees.

If you have debt problems, do talk to Christian’s Against Poverty who have coverage over lots of Somerset. They will support you in finding a repayment solution.03003280006. You could also try local advice such as Wiser Money in South Somerset.

Cheap and safe loans are available through credit unions www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk . There are several across Somerset.

If you need support in regaining skills to get back into work, do ask us about the Positive People Program where you will work alongside a navigator who will help you overcome obstacles to finding work. There is also support for young adults at risk of losing their way on the employment / training / education path www.cswfocus5.co.uk 07876758108.

Visit one of our talking café’s where one of our agents will be available to direct you to support suitable for your circumstances. They run on Monday 2pm – 4pm in Chard at the library, Langport at the Angel 10 – 13.00 and soon in Yeovil. Remember it is always better to talk and get ideas and support from others, rather than keeping it to yourself.

Surviving Winter grants are available for older people living in Somerset, who are unable to adequately heat their homes. If you are struggling to afford to heat your home this winter contact me for more information.


I support unpaid carers in South East Somerset to connect them with community resources, support groups and personal support around benefits and allowances. We also have a new team of Community Agents and Village Agents in South Somerset providing those in Somerset’s rural communities with easier access to information and services. They help to bridge the gap between isolated, excluded, vulnerable and lonely individuals and statutory and/or voluntary organisations which offer specific solutions to identified needs. We can offer advice on support, local groups and activities available in your community. Please visit www.somersetrcc.org.uk and www.somersetcarers.org or call me on 07968521746 or email cath@somersetrcc.org.uk to find out who can advise you.