Building a bigger impact in South Gloucestershire

by Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

Building a bigger impact in South Gloucestershire

Total raised £840

 
Gift Aid
+ est. £40.00
£10,000 target 12 days left
8% 7 supporters

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Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 6th August 2024 at 1:49pm

Help Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire set up new IT systems in their new home so they can help even more people.

by Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

 donated match funding
Aviva Community Fund is providing live match funding

At Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire, we have been raising funds over the last year towards our main offices moving premises this summer. We have desperately outgrown our current HQ in Yate where all our volunteers, staff and 3 of our 10+ weekly drop in face-to-face advice sessions are housed. 

Our local office houses the South West regional "Help to Claim" telephone team supporting people to make Universal Credit applications. In addition, our 27 volunteer advisors also deliver advice from our Yate office 3 times every week and give additional voluntary time to write up client case notes online and make follow up phone calls. In 2022/23, the majority of our local advice was delivered by telephone through our free advice line (open to anyone aged 15+.) Last year, we helped 5,708 telephone appointments with clients and helped clients via email 1831 times.

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We now need funding to help us move our IT and telephone systems to our new premises in Yate which will allow us all to work safely and confidentially and meet the growing demands of our local area in supporting over 6000 people every year, just in our county. Our telephone advice line is open every weekday where you are helped by one of our local advisors. By donating towards our telephone and IT systems, you will ensure we can provide a smooth telephone, online and face-to-face transition to ensure more people get the help they need in the move. In addition, the larger premises we are moving to mean our capacity for more desks (computer and telephones too) will be optimised. A win win.

Donate today and get your donation DOUBLED!

  • £10,000 would help us relocate our telephone and IT hardware for our new premises including setting up new phones, set up and additional cabling costs. This would not only support our staff set up for organisation admin and relationship building but primarily for our telephone advisors to support them to become more accessible to answer more calls through our local telephone and online advicelines. 
  • We would use an additional funding to update our IT hardware and software, including desktop computers and monitors. These would be particularly useful to enable more volunteers simultaneously to use our premises at the same time, to access our national database live on site to record case notes after appointments which would mean more clients could be seen at any one time, ensuring we could meet the needs of many more people in the local area.

Don't forget this is also matched funded by Aviva Community Fund, so any donation you make (up to £250 per gift) will be doubled! Amazing!

About Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire

At Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire, we work independently to provide face-to-face advice, telephone and online advice for free to anyone who needs it - to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem. 

As well as our impressive numbers and financial savings we provide to local people, we continue to help local people on the brink of homelessness, debt, domestic abuse and relationship breakdown like Clare* just last month.

Clare*, a single mother of two, had fallen into debt. One day, the bailiff threatened to break the locks of Clare’s house and had switched off their body camera despite her explaining she was the victim of domestic abuse. This left Clare and her two children terrified – and they stayed inside the property with the lights off for a week.

How we helped... 1718199558_pexels-liza-summer-6383278.jpgAfter seeking help from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire, we were able to act quickly, tried to contact the bailiff and then raised a formal complaint with the enforcement agency who found Clare to have not been treated correctly. Thanks to our work, the bailiff is now no longer permitted to contact the client and the agency compensated her by removing the bailiff fees from the amount owed. In addition, our Money Advice Supervisor, Yvonne is now helping her apply for a Debt Relief Order. This would mean she will stop paying towards the debts and – after a year, the debts will be wiped clean.

Clare said: “Coming to Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire was a huge moment for me. It had felt like I had no one. They treated me so kindly when the world felt so cruel. They genuinely helped me and cared after the worst experience for years, when I needed people. Yvonne [our Money Advice Supervisor] is so caring, helpful and kind. I felt like she genuinely wanted to help. It’s important to know Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire do genuinely help, so you don’t feel on your own.” Client, June 2024.

 *Name has been changed to protect identity.

About Us:

  • We provide accessible advice (free, confidential, impartial and up-to-date) to any South Gloucestershire resident from aged 15+ with no prior assessment. 
  • We train up volunteers to provide generalist and specialist debt advice in response to whatever problem local people need help with, to enable people to move forward in their lives, at any point (or multiple points) in their lives. 
  • Our main themes of advice our clients need are centred around debt, housing and benefit payments. Some of the issues people come to us stem from relationship breakdown, risk of homelessness, benefit queries and domestic abuse and our aim is to give them options, support in filling in forms, provide a listening ear, book a specialist appointment or signpost them on to other specialist services. 
  • Our advisors deliver an impressive 12 separate advice outreach sessions every week across 8 different venues across the county, meaning that local residents can access face-to-face support almost every day as well as manning our local telephone adviceline available every day.
  • We also act as advocates for our clients where needed and recognise local patterns of issues and campaign on behalf of local people. 
  • Our advisors help Universal Credit claims, Personal Independence Payments, helping clients to receive back dated payments. Our work is aimed for South Gloucestershire residents, providing advice through our daily telephone adviceline and regular drop in advice sessions across the county. 
  • We also deliver community workshops on energy payments and water bills, provide a full time advisor at our local foodbank, primary health centres and the probation service. 
  • Although we are part of the umbrella of national Citizens Advice , we operate as an autonomous, registered charity - being free to respond to local need but reliant on individual donations to keep our services running. Therefore our services at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire are unique in providing a number of face-to-face advice sessions unique to our county. 

If you need any more information about the work we do, the impact we have or how you can get involved, please do not hesitate to go to our website or our fundraising team at [email protected].

Find out more about us at www.southgloscab.org.uk.

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