Healthy Start Vouchers scheme – are you eligible?

Image source: Healthy Start

Did you know that there are over 5,000 Hertfordshire families who are missing out on £100s of food and milk vouchers?

According to the latest NHS figures, there are 8,700 Hertfordshire families who should be getting Healthy Start Vouchers and less than 3,400 are.

If you are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old you could be entitled to Healthy Start Vouchers worth £3.10 per child per week, to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and instant formula milk. You can also use them to buy pulses and canned fruit and vegetable as long as they have no fat, salt, sugar or other flavouring added. The vouchers can be redeemed at local retailers.

If you are entitled to Healthy Start Vouchers you will also get free vitamins designed to help pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children.

Pregnant women and every child over one and under four years old can get one voucher every week. Children under one year old can get £6.20 per week.

To be eligible you should be in receipt of certain means-tested benefits. Check your eligibility here.

For example, a parent with a new baby and a three-year-old could get vouchers worth almost £500 a year.

You can still receive the vouchers if you live with your partner and they receive one of these benefits or you are the dependent child of someone who receives them. If you are pregnant and under 18, you do not have to be in receipt of any benefits to qualify.

Take-up of the vouchers is very low, around 40 percent, so check you are entitled as soon as possible to prevent missing out. You can pick up an application leaflet at your GP’s or baby clinic. Alternatively, you can phone for a form on 0345 607 6823 or download and print one here.

Due to COVID19 restrictions, the form does not need to be signed by a health professional.

You can also use the benefit-checker on the County Council’s website, and access free information about benefits that you might be missing out on. www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/benefits

You can get more information about Health Start on their website.

Manage your money and reach your financial goals

In these difficult times, people have either become accidental savers with fewer expenses or finding their debts escalating out of control. While some factors affecting financial well-being are beyond an individual’s control, understanding financial knowledge and money management can help people through difficult times or times of prosperity.

Therefore, we would like to recommend the MoneySkills app which has been created by researchers from the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Conventry University. The app combines practical tips and step-by-step guides to help you manage your money and reach your financial goals.

It has the following features:

• Goals tool that will help you set and track your financial goals
• Ezines that are short and easy to read
• Explainer videos that will teach you how to budget, set goals, save money and more
• Interactive budget planning tool

What’s more, this app is FREE and is available to download from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

For more information, you can visit their website.

CANCELLED: AGM 2020

Dear members,

We have been closely monitoring updates on the spread of the Corona virus. The health and safety of our members is our first priority so we have made a decision to cancel the AGM which was to take place on Thursday 19 March 2020.

Thank you for understanding and support.

With kind regards,

Hertsavers Credit Union team

Coronavirus Contingency Plan

Dear Member,

Due to the Coronavirus, we may need to change our work practice due to reduced staffing or staff working from home.

The rate at which emails are received has significantly increased with more members requesting withdrawals. This increase in emails means that the time we take to respond may increase and hence your withdrawal may take longer than usual.

By far the quickest way of getting a share withdrawal is through the Members Area on the website. If you have yet to register for the Members Area on the website you should do it straight away. You can register here.

Members Area share withdrawals are processed on a daily basis and if submitted before 9 am will show in your bank account the same day or after the next working day. By comparison, email requests for share withdrawals could take up to three working days.

Kind regards,

Hertsavers Credit Union team

February newsletter – Hertsavers Credit Union

Some of the topics covered in February’s newsletter include:

  • Details of the Annual General Meeting which takes place on Thursday, 19 March 2020
  • More information about Just Borrow and Open Banking
  • Pointers for ensuring a successful loan application
  • Call for volunteers and board directors
  • A few ideas on how you can celebrate Pancake Day
  • Money-saving tips: Beat the winter

Download February newsletter

All change

We recently introduced our new current account, with a debit card, called the Change Account. This replaces the former card, Engage Cards.

Members who had an account with Engage Cards should receive the new Change Account details and debit card in the post. If you haven’t received yours yet, please email us on office@hertsavers.co.uk. If you don’t wish to have a Change Account or card, please return it to us at The Bungalow, Pinkwell Lane, Hayes, UB3 1PE so that you don’t get charged.

If you would like to apply for the Change Account, please contact us on office@hertsavers.co.uk or call 0208 756 3868  to find out how to apply for this card.

Why have a Change Account?

From just £2 a month, you can enjoy great benefits with a Change Account. Some of these benefits include:

Full transactional account – with a dedicated Sort Code, Account Number and Debit Mastercard® (Chip & PIN protected) therefore you can use it in the following ways:

o Point of Sale, ATM withdrawals and online purchases

o Direct Debits, scheduled and faster payments

o BACS Credits (wages/benefits)

o Choice of single or joint account.

Secure budgeting wallets – allows you to subdivide spending, budgeting and bill payments. Encourages you to protect your money allocated for bills.

Clear payment alerts – automatic online payment alerts as well as optional alerts via SMS, Mobile App and email.

A wide ranging Rewards Programme – well-known brands like Asda, New Look, Pizza Express and Argos offering Cash Back (up to 20%) when you spend instore or online.

Online account management – you can manage your account online therefore enabling you to keep up to date with your balance, transactions or cash withdrawals.

Mobile App account management – manage your account ‘on the go’ with our Mobile App (available FREE through iTunes and Google Play).

24/7 UK based customer support – support via phone, email and secure messaging

Hertsavers Christmas 2019 newsletter

Hertsavers Credit Union is reflecting on a great year after introducing new products and exciting new service delivery improvements. Here is a copy of our Christmas 2019 newsletter which highlights some of these features including:
  • The Change Account, the new current account and debit card
  • Checking your account balance by telephone
  • Easier loan application with the introduction of editable forms and open banking.
For news and updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. While you are there, please feel free to share your Christmas tree pics with us, using the hashtag #CUChristmas.

Engage Cards failure

Recently, members with Engage Cards were sent some communication indicating that a new card would be sent to them and that the sort code and account number which they were sent was to be given to their credit union.

Several members contacted us to give us the new card sort codes and account numbers. As Engage Cards is a third party provider, we don’t keep this information on our records therefore we’ve had to decline these offers.

It has come to our attention that no one has been sent a new card and that the system for loading cards will no longer respond to the transfers that we put through for members.

Our staff have contacted Engage Cards who apologised for the issues caused and confirmed that a provider that they use has created the problem and that their switchboard is now jammed with calls.

We understand how much our members rely on the card transfers and we apologise for the miscommunication and inconvenience that has been caused by Engage Cards. Engage Cards are trying to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

As some of you may already know that we intending to transfer to a new card provider called the Change Account. We are currently working with them on an improved implementation date.

Volunteers

We desparately need new volunteers to spread the load and help promote the Credit Union. We have just sent out an email to all members with email telling them about volunteering together with an application form for them to complete if they want to help us. Please respond if you can.