We all hear the word ‘signposting’ a lot in the third sector at the moment, but how many of those vulnerable clients that are signposted to other organisations actually make it to their destination? How many get lost or side tracked along the way?
To try & overcome some of these barriers, we are excited to be able to announce a new, three-year partnership between the Trussell Trust, Genesis Trust, Bath Foodbank and Citizens Advice BANES. We will be providing food parcels for people in crisis but able to refer people for further support and advice right on the front line, in the foodbanks centres themselves. Citizens Advice will be present 4 days per week initially, at Manvers Street on a Wednesday & Friday, Keynsham on a Thursday and Odd Down on a Tuesday. There will also be a 5th day to follow soon in Twerton. We will be delivering free, independent, impartial confidential advice. Those foodbanks who don’t have the confidential facilities to host Citizens Advice clients, will still benefit from the service, taking direct referrals for support via the Community Wellbeing Hub.
The funding has allowed Citizens Advice to recruit a full time Generalist Adviser, working with clients both face to face and through referrals. We will be providing support and advice with issues such as benefits, debt, energy costs and housing. Bella joined Citizens Advice initially as part of the Government Kickstart program in 2021. Training for 12 months to be a Generalist Adviser, before leaving us for a short stint at Bristol University’s Student Union, returning to us specifically to work on this project.
Bella said, ‘I’m excited to begin this project, being able to offer a face-to-face service to foodbank users will hopefully encourage people to engage with the support Citizen’s Advice have to offer -especially for those more vulnerable clients. The first few weeks of this project have been really positive. We have already been able to engage with many residents of BANES who have not contacted Citizen’s Advice before, assisting them with a variety of issues.”
Thank you to Trussell Trust for the funding that makes this possible. We believe in strong partnerships with other agencies. We understand that other organisations provide specialist services that more effectively support our clients from crisis to independence.