This section has information about:
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
The Citizens Advice Bureau (external link) provides free, comprehensive advice services in the Borough. It has two offices, one in Wigan town centre and one in Leigh town centre. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on a range of issues, including debt, welfare benefits, housing, employment, taxation, family and person issues and consumer rights.
Advice is also provided on immigration issues and on the rights and responsibilites of asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers, travel documents, nationality and applying for British Citizenship.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has an online service called 'Advice Guide' that provides:
- Practical, up to date information on a wide range of topics
- Information in a range of languages
- A selection of fact sheets which can be printed off
The online CAB information service is available at the CAB website(external link)
Wigan Independent Advice Centre
Wigan Independent Advice Centre (external link) offers an advice line, surgeries out in the community, information for the general public: including casework in welfare benefits, advice and help with reviews and representation at appeals (housing & council tax benefit, industrial injuries, social security).
Contact the Centre for details of when and where the surgeries are held on 01942 324851.
Consumer Direct will be able to help you if you have a problem related to something that you have bought. They can be contacted by telephone on 08454 04 05 06 or on line at the Consumer Direct website (external link).
For general information about public services available in the UK, the national Directgov website (external link) is a good place to start.
Community Legal Advice provides a website(external link) which gives information on a wide range of issues including immigration & nationality, health and social care, housing & homelessness and welfare benefits.
Community Legal Advice can also help you deal with everyday problems by giving you confidential advice over the telephone.
They are funded by legal aid, so if you live on a low income or benefits, you can get free independent advice about debt, education, family, welfare benefits and tax credits, employment, housing and other problems. (Please note that if you receive government asylum support, you will automatically be financially eligible for Legal Help, Help at Court and Controlled Legal Representation in asylum and immigration cases only).
Even if you are not eligible for legal aid, they can still find ways to help by putting you in touch with the right agency or advice organisation.
You can call the Community Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4 345
Wherever you live you will fall into one of the 25 wards covering the whole of Wigan Borough. You have three councillors in your ward who are able to help you with problems about Council services. They will be able to tell you who to contact or can take up your problem for you. Councillors hold regular 'surgeries' at which you can discuss things in confidence. Find out more about the councillor in your area by ringing 01942 828072 or on the Council's democracy pages. (external link)
- Your MP can help you with things that the government is responsible for such as the National Health Service, HM Revenue and Customs who collect the bulk of tax and pay child benefit and tax credits, and the Department of Work and Pensions who deal with issues such as benefits, pensions and national insurance.
- You will need to see the MP for the area that you live in. Sometimes it is possible to make an appointment to see your MP, but they also have times when you can just drop in and wait to see them. Contact their offices find out the times they are available to meet ‘constituents’.
- Wigan: Lisa Eva Nandy: tel. 01942 242047
- Leigh: Andy Burnham: tel. 01942 682353
- Makerfield: Yvonne Helen Fovargue: tel. 01942 824029
- Worsley: Barbara Keeley: tel. 0161 799 4159
Leigh is made up of:
- Lowton West
- Hindley Green
- Leigh East
- Leigh South
- Leigh West and
- Lowton West
Makerfield is made up of:
- Worsley Mesnes
Wigan is made up of:
- Aspull-New Springs
- Shevington with Lower Ground
- Standish with Langtree
- Wigan Central
- Wigan West
Worsley is made up of:
- Astley-Mosley Common
(The rest of the constituency includes wards from Salford)
Legal advice about an immigration or asylum problem
- The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) (external link) offices in Wigan and in Leigh have weekly appointments available with a specialist adviser from IAS (Independent Advisory service) who can give advice about asylum claims. For an appointment call;
- Wigan 01942 241113 (sessions are Tuesdays);
- Leigh 01942 267962 (sessions are Fridays).
Advice about asylum support
- If you need help with your asylum claim or National Asylum Support Service Support, Refugee Action (external link) (in Manchester) has a drop-in advice service for asylum seekers and refugees. Contact the Refugee Action office to make an appointment and check the current drop-in days. The new office address is 23-37 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HW: tel. 0161 831 5420
- You can also get advice through Clientline, Refugee Action's telephone advice service; 0800 917 2719.
- You can also get help locally from the Citizens Advice Bureau(External Link) or from Refugee Action(External link)
Please note that an asylum seeker will be refused support if they do not make an asylum application 'as soon as reasonably practicable' after arriving in the UK - this is usually within 72 hours.
- If a person has been detained by immigration officials, you may be able to get advice and assistance for him/her from Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) (external link). The Red Cross Refugee Service may be able to arrange for a volunteer to visit someone in detention - call 0161 888 8900.
Getting and Sending Information
This section has information about:
You can borrow books free of charge at public libraries and borrow CD's and DVD's for a small charge. Library services in the main town centres can be found at:
- Wigan Library : College Avenue, Wigan WN1 1NN: 01942 827621 and
- Leigh: Turnpike Centre, Civic Square, Market Street, Leigh WN7 1EB : 01942 404556
There are also 16 other library branches across the borough. Please visit the Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust Website (external link) for more details.
Libraries have information about a wide range of services, activities, clubs and facilities across the borough. You can ask any library member of staff and they will try to find information for you.
You can borrow foreign-language books from a few of the libraries in the borough (try Wigan and Leigh libraries first), though the selection is still quite small.
Manchester Library Service has books and magazines in 30 foreign languages, including French, Arabic, Farsi, Bengali, Kurdish, Pushto, Somali. Most of these are kept in the Language and Literature section of the Manchester Central Library. You can register at Manchester Library even if you don't live there.
Access to the internet
Libraries give free computer access to library users for up to 2 hours a day. This facility is very popular, so you might need to book a computer place in advance. To use a computer in these libraries you have registered with the library (which is free) and possess a library membership card. For more inforamtion visit the Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust (external link) website.
You can also get internet access at internet cafés, which charge at a fixed price to let you use a computer and have internet access. These cafés can be found across the borough The library, community organisations and the Citizens Advice Bureau (external link) can tell you about other places where you can use computers free or for a small charge.
If you have a television in your home, you must buy a TV licence, even if you only watch foreign channels or satellite TV. (This includes any method of watching or recording a television programme while it is being shown, such as using a set top box, video, DVD recorder, computer or mobile phone). For information on how to purchase a TV license please visit the TV licensing website (external link)
If you live in rented accommodation and you have a TV, you are responsible for buying your own TV licence.
A license for one year (from 1/04/2010) costs £145.50 for a colour TV and £49 for a black and white tv. There are concessionary fee for television licenses for people aged 75 and over, people who are registed blind, and people who are retired or disabled and live in certain types of residential accommodation.
You may pay for your tv licence in one annual payment or, for colour televisions only, by instalments. Payment can be made:
- By cash, debit card or credit card. You can either pay at a PayPoint outlet or you can contact TV licensing and pay over the telephone; or
- Online on the TV Licensing website (external link) or
- By cheque (by posting to TV licensing) or
- by direct debit from your bank account or credit card account. You should contact TV licensing to arrange this. Direct debits can be made either monthly, quarterly or annually from the client's bank account, at the current license fee rate; or
- By a cash payment plan, which allows for weekly and fortnightly payments
TV licensing can deal with any enquiry about television licences. The contact details for TV licensing are:
TV Licensing, Bristol, BS98 1TL
- General enquiries: 0300 790 6071
- Translation service: 0300 790 6044
- Welsh hotline: 0300 790 6042
- Concession licences: 0300 790 6011
- Change of address: 0300 790 6065
- Minicom: 0300 790 6050
- Cash Payment Plan: 0300 555 0300
- Payment by credit or debit card: 0300 790 6063
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- TV licensing website(external link)
You do not need a licence to listen to the radio in the UK.
You can listen to many non-uk radio stations for free on the internet or using an internet radio.
Daily newspapers in the UK generally cost less than £1.00. All public libraries have a selection of British newspapers which you can sit and read in the library for free.
Wigan library and Leigh library also have one or two foreign language newspapers. Foreign newspapers are expensive here and it is difficult to find them for sale in Wigan. You can get these more easily in Manchester, Bolton or Liverpool.
If you have internet access, you can read national newspapers from around the world over the internet. Websites like Worldpress have links to a wide range of newspapers from around the world and have a free daily email service reviewing major international headlines and stories.
Calling in the UK
Calls to landline numbers (starting with '01' or '02') and mobile phone numbers vary, depending on who your phone service provider is. Calls to numbers starting with 0800 are free from landlines but not mobiles. Calls to numbers starting with '0844' cost up to 5p per min, and calls to '0845' are now free with British Telecom (BT) (external link)but may cost more from other landline service providers. Calls to numbers starting with '09' are very expensive (up to almost £2.00 per minute).
If you want to make calls in the UK using a mobile phone, then it is possible to find very cheap 'pay as you go' deals. If you decide to get a 'pay monthly' or 'contract' mobile phone, then be careful that you understand how long your contract will last. If you sign up for an 12-, 18- or 24-month contract and then change your mind, you will probably still have to pay the monthly charge for the full period.
If you have a computer and internet access, you can make very cheap (or free) national and international telephone calls over the internet, or with providers such as Skype (external link). You can find information about how to make internet calls on many websites.
Making international calls can be very expensive from a mobile phone, although some mobile phone companies now offer contracts which let you make international calls as part of a package . You can also buy phone cards which give you credit for international calls from many newsagents or international food shops and cafes. It is usually much cheaper to use these if you are making international calls from your mobile.
You can make international calls using a landline. The cost for this will depend on who you buy your landline service from. Some landline service providers offer packages for making cheap international calls.
BT (British Telecom) (external link)has a list of international dialling codes for other countries on the internet.
Post offices sell postage stamps, currency, phone cards and power cards. It also provides banking services for paying bills and sending money abroad.
You can also get driving licence application forms and buy road (car) tax discs from the post office.
For more information or for post offices in your area contact 08457 22 33 44 or see the Post Office website (external link)
Important: If you need to post documents to the Home Office as part of a visa or asylum application, always sending them by Recorded Delivery. It will cost more than normal post, but this is the safest way to be sure that the Home Office receives your letter. The staff in the Post Office will give advice on how to send a letter or parcel by Recorded Delivery