Help Through Hardship Crisis
About the project
Citizens Advice Wandsworth is working in partnership with Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network on a four year project to help people in crisis take back control of their lives in Wandsworth. The project started in summer 2016 with funding from The Big Lottery Fund. We aim to support people in Wandsworth who face hardship and crisis and establish and strengthen the capacity of community networks to support them. We are working closely with community, social and faith networks and groups to provide tailored, community-based advice and advocacy for local people.
We are focusing on ensuring vulnerable people have access to advice and advocacy support, including older and isolated people, people with mental health issues, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, care needs, drug and alcohol issues and newly arrived migrant and refugee communities.
We are providing support to address the underlying causes of crisis through advice on issues such as employment, benefits, homelessness, debt, and health problems. We are training volunteers and staff from community and voluntary sector partners to provide ‘Advice First Aid’ and put people in need in touch with the support they need to improve their circumstances and we have advisers who can take referrals of people who need advice.
We are building a network of organisations as part of the project, involving a wide range of community, faith and statutory groups and services. To join the network, fill out the form here.
We held our 5th Annual Conference on Tuesday 13 July. This was the second conference we held online. For more information about this and previous events, please visit our Events and Conferences page.
Our latest Advice First Aid online session ‘Talking about Debt’ and was held on 5 July with ten participants from local community and faith groups and voluntary organisations. This session will be delivered again in September, please see our Advice First Aid page for more information.
Mid Term Evaluation
The Mid Term Evaluation of the Help Through Hardship Crisis Project has been completed.
Our independent consultant, Robin Brady, spoke to lots of people involved in the project, including service users and organisations who have participated in Advice First Aid training. He led two workshops of stakeholders in the project and has highlighted useful lessons learned and recommendations for the rest of the project.
Advice First Aid – Cohort 4, 5 and 6 trained
A total of 28 people from 15 organisations have been trained in Advice First Aid since September 2018. The two day training has provided an introduction to legacy benefits, housing benefit and universal credit, as well as an introduction to housing and homelessness and debt. Participants also learn about the best local and online resources to help people.
The Hardship Crisis project team will be running the course again in October 2019. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Project Update – August 2018
We have just completed the second year of our Help Through Hardship Crisis Project. The project advisers have now supported a total of 265 local people facing hardship to resolve their issues around welfare benefits, housing and debt, amongst other issues.
We held our second annual conference on 29 June 2018 at Springfield Hospital. For more information and a short film of the project go to the Events and Conferences page.
We have now trained 37 people from 24 local organisations in ‘Advice First Aid’. We have announced dates for the next 2 training cohorts. For more information go to the Advice First Aid page.