New advice service in Argyll and Bute will focus on those who need help most
Councillor Robin Currie, of Argyll and Bute.
By Julie Millar
Helensburgh, Cardross and Lochside will benefit from a new improved advice service, aimed directly at helping the most vulnerable people in our communities, throughout Argyll and Bute on 1 July.
The service builds upon the existing advice services which are available from a wide range of local and national agencies or third sector organisations, and introduces a range of improvements which will reinforce this partnership working to ensure that those seeking advice will be able to access appropriate services.
The main change is that the council will focus its resource on offering advice relating to debt, welfare rights and homelessness to particularly vulnerable clients. Others will be referred through a new contract with advice provider Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau (ABCAB) and also national advice agencies. The new arrangements will seek to use new technologies to improve the level, and accessibility, of advice to clients across Argyll and Bute.
Working closely with a single partner will allow the council to focus on people with the most complex concerns while ensuring that everyone will be referred to the most appropriate advice for their needs.
The council’s focus will be on particularly vulnerable clients including anyone who is in threat of eviction or homeless; facing bankruptcy or eviction due to debt; have medical related issues including mental health and currently receive housing benefit or council tax claim.
For people who want to look themselves to see what information is out there, the council’s website will signpost to a range of useful services as well as information on affordable loans and credit.
The existing contract with Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau and Bute Advice Centre will continue to run until 30 June meaning that there will be no break in advice services.
Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for Communities, Housing and Gaelic, said: “We want an Argyll and Bute where no-one lives in poverty. Our anti-poverty strategy states that by acting locally, and in partnership, we can make a real difference.
“When designing the new service, we had to find a model that would meet a growing need for advice, while acknowledging that council funding is tight. To come up with the best possible services, we looked at what is successful in other areas, and consulted with stakeholders and clients.
“We are confident that what we have delivered is sustainable and will target our resources where they are needed most – at people in the most vulnerable situations.”
If you would like to be signposted to advice on debt, benefits or credit, please go to: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/advice-services