Help Through Hardship Crisis and Advice First Aid
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Citizens Advice Wandsworth and Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN) are working in partnership on a project to help people in Wandsworth facing hardship crisis. 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 do this through our experienced caseworkers, by upskilling people in the community (through our Advice First Aid training) to help spot issues and provide information and signposting; and by bringing organisations in Wandsworth together to share learning and refer clients to each other.
We are a team of three generalist advisers and a specialist housing adviser based at our Battersea Library office. We give are experts in welfare benefits, housing, and cost of living issues plus can offer advice on immigration, finance and budgeting. Our referrals are received from our trusted community partners, from Citizens Advice Wandsworth-trained advice first aiders, and internally from other parts of Citizens Advice Wandsworth.
Many of the people we help have complicated issues they can’t solve on their own. Some aren’t fluent in English, some struggle with technology, and others are just overwhelmed. We provide a complete service. First, we figure out what each person needs help with. Then, depending on their situation, we offer information, connect them with specialists, or work closely with them to solve their problems.
Refer to Help Through Hardship Crisis: if you are from a local organisation in Wandsworth and know someone who needs our help, you can refer using the webform here.
Advice First Aid (Wandsworth)
The Advice First Aid (AFA) programme aims to empower local community partners to advise members of their own community directly. The programme is delivered jointly with Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN).
The basic AFA training is a two-day training session covering the fundamentals of advice provision, benefits, housing and debt. The next two-day session is scheduled for 20 and 21 November 2023. If you are interested in signing up, please contact Jo Anderson at email@example.com
The training is supplemented by bitesize sessions covering specialist areas. The table below sets out the bitesize timetable to the end of 2023. You can sign up for free to these sessions at Eventbrite using the links.
AFA training programme (September to December 2023)
|Date and time||Who for?||Topic||Location||Booking|
|12 Sept 2023 10am-12pm||Community Partners||AFA bitesize|
Employment and discrimination
A look at employment rights and workplace discrimination
|Tooting Library, 75 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PD||Book here|
|2 Oct 2023|
|Community Partners |
A basic knowledge of benefits would be helpful
Universal Credit – Exceptions to the Rules
A look into the rules that often negatively impact claimants of UC and the exemptions to those rules
|Mushkil Aasaan, 220-222 Upper Tooting Road, London, SW17 7EW||Book here|
|9 Oct 2023|
|Community Partners||AFA bitesize|
Housing allocations in Wandsworth
A look at the social housing queue in Wandsworth and how it works.
|WCEN , Business Centre, Charlotte Despard Avenue, London, SW11 5HD||Book here|
|31 Oct 2023|
|Community Partners |
Benefits for older people
A look at benefits available to those of state pension age.
|Tooting Library, 75 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PD |
|20 and 21 Nov 2023|
A comprehensive training programme for those who are planning to deliver Advice First Aid in the community
|Basic two-day AFA training|
Covering advice skills, financial hardship, benefits, debt, housing and immigration
|WCEN , Business Centre, Charlotte Despard Avenue, London, SW11 5HD||Contact Jo Anderson|
If you are from an organisation who would like to deliver Advice First Aid trainings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our conferences and events
We host an annual conference every year with the aim of bringing together community partners, statutory partners and policy makers to discuss issues affecting people living in Wandsworth.
Our most recent conference in July 2023 we focussed on health inequalities in Wandsworth and the link between these and socio-economic factors. We brought together 80 people to discuss how advice and advocacy can help tackle health inequalities.
- 2023 – Enabling Rights and Advocacy to Reduce Health Inequalities
- 2022 – Looking at the Cost-of-Living Crisis: Working together to reduce poverty and hardship in Wandsworth (report here).
- 2021 – Learning from Service Delivery During the Pandemic (report here).
If you would like to receive information about upcoming events, please subscribe to our mailing list here.
Our partnerships and Refernet
Citizens Advice is eager to connect with local partners who provide support to the many different communities in Wandsworth. We want to support a strong local network, ensuring people experiencing hardship crisis can easily access help during tough times.
We look to collaborate with volunteers, faith organisations, voluntary groups, food providers, activity providers – anyone who works with people who might need our help. We can offer outreach sessions, training for staff and volunteers (through AFA) and invitations to our events to connect with other organisations.
As part of this work, we host an online referral platform called Refernet. Using Refernet partner organisations can easily send secure referrals to each other, to create an easier journey for our clients.
Get in touch with email@example.com if you are part of an organisation based in Wandsworth and would like to connect.