Friday, 3 April 2020

Spot and stop fraudsters

A poster advertising a new action line to protect people from fraud.

Call 0300 123 2020

Or use the online fraud reporting tool at 

Money Wise Workshops

A FREE training package being delivered remotely on a 1-2-1 basis to meet individual needs in this time of social exclusion/isolation.

We have a training package that can be completed in isolation in a client's own home using their IT equipment or phone via internet or calls. People can gain up to date relevant information to enable them to cope with the barriers they may face after this virus has ceased. 

The course programme consists of 6 friendly, interactive workshops and activities lasting 1 hour and can cover the following topics to increase your financial confidence.

How to make the most of your money including 

Help to switch utility providers
Smart shopping
Using comparison websites

Long term and short term planning and budgeting

Help with household bills
Pensions and saving for the future

How IT can help you budget

Budgeting advice
Microsoft and Excel

Benefit entitlement

Benefit checks

How to borrow money safely

Understanding and preventing fraud
How to borrow money responsibly

To find out more contact Robert Chattin, telephone m: 07909331241.


Start Your Family Tree: Week 1 from Who Do You Think You Are?

Beat coronavirus boredom with these step-by-step instructions on starting your family tree from our editor Sarah Williams. This week: how to begin

It’s week two of lockdown and many of us are looking for meaningful activities beyond sharing humorous YouTube clips and singing with Gareth Malone.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of WDYTYA? and wondered whether your family’s past contains similarly interesting stories (spoiler alert, it probably does), then why not make the most of this enforced seclusion and see what you can discover.

The great thing about genealogy in these difficult times is that, unlike scuba diving, kite flying or any other hobby you had planned to take up but now can’t, it is 90% an online activity. And with archives and most libraries currently closed, we’re going to put together a weekly guide to researching your family history that is 100% online.

A fun way to start is to just type information you already have straight into a family tree. There are a few online family tree builders out there but for the purposes of this blog I’m going to use the one on Ancestry. You’re not committed to sticking to the family tree software you choose at first. Most family tree builders let you export your data into a file format (.ged) that is recognised by other sites or software, so you can move your tree around if you want.

So for now, head to Ancestry. The homepage will encourage you to sign up for a free trial, but there is no need to do that yet. One of the great things about Ancestry is that you can start building your tree on the website with a free account. Click on ‘Sign in’ and then select ‘Sign up today for free’. This will give you a basic account to start building your tree for free.
Once you have an account, check that the privacy settings suit you. By default, any work you do on your tree can be used to match your tree to others. This can be extremely useful and may help you grow your tree more quickly but it doesn’t suit everyone. If you are uncertain, start with more stringent privacy settings and you can always relax them later. Ancestry automatically keeps any details about living people on your family tree private regardless of which privacy setting you choose.

The tree builder is fairly intuitive and for this first week what you will be doing is gathering together all the information you know already or can get from family members before you start looking at official records.

Start by filling in all the details you know about yourself and your parents (add kids and spouse if applicable). The site will guide you through the process.

Filling in a family tree can really bring home to you how little (or much) you might know about your family. Once you realise you are uncertain about when your parents married and you thought you grandmother was just called Nana, it’s time to reach out to your family.

If you are lucky enough to have parents (or even better, grandparents) who are still around to share their family knowledge then this is the best place to start. Add family history as a topic for your video calls (honestly, they will be relieved to have you asking questions about their grandparents rather than asking them for the umpteenth time if they have enough eggs).

It’s not just parents who may have the information you need. Try aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings. Announce on Facebook that you are researching your family history. Spread the word. You may find a relative has already done some of the legwork or you may find one of your siblings wants to help you. Having a ‘research buddy’ can be a great way to share costs and keep motivation up.

See how much of your tree you can fill in just using the information that your family shares with you. If anyone gives you uncertain information along the lines of “I think he was born in Portsmouth”, “I think she died in 1979”, it’s still worth recording on your family tree, just make sure you put a question mark next to the information. This is all stuff we can sort out next week when we start to dig into the actual historical documents.

Until then, talk to your family, stay safe and happy hunting!

Take it further

Join us on Facebook and Twitter where we will be answering any questions you have about your family history and offering you support to help grow your tree.


Funded by Heritage Fund

A project of Age Concern Birmingham

For millions of older people in the UK the current health crisis, caused by the Covid-19 virus, is creating feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation. Keeping safe and well means staying indoors and minimising contact with neighbours, carers and loved ones.
But avoiding close contact with other people doesn’t mean that you have to be bored or feel forgotten. As people get older they often say things like “it’s about time I wrote down my life story” or their children and grandchildren will say “if only Nan, Granny or Granddad would record their precious memories”. But most of us reach older age without finding the time to commit pen to paper or to sit down at the computer keyboard and simply type away.
You may have fascinating recollections of your school days, your armed service, employment, sport, family life or historic events and younger generations are always interested to learn what life was like 60, 70 or 80 years ago and to hear those personal stories, the sad ones alongside the happy ones.     
At Age Concern Birmingham (ACB) we are running a memory based project which is funded by the Heritage Fund. We are collecting memories and stories from older people in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, many of which will be included in a book to be published later this year or published on our blog.
Because of the Covid-19 crisis we have had to postpone our events and face-to-face interviews with local people. So we’re looking at delivering our project another way. We don’t want to stop our project when we know that there are thousands of older people in the city sitting at home feeling bored and isolated but who could still contribute stories.
Please join in with our memory writing-and-recording project today. Whether you start off with a few bullet-points or dive straight into your memoirs, write it, type it, tape it or dictate it, dig out your old documents and photographs for scanning, we welcome it all for our project!
Please send your memories to the email address below or contact us for more information on how to join in:
Send your memories to Peter Millington at Age Concern Birmingham, 76-78 Boldmere Road, Birmingham B73 5TJ.