This week Citizens Advice Broxtowe are participating in the national #AdviceAtHome week, intended to highlight the work of local Citizens Advice services in keeping operational and able to provide the help people need during the pandemic. We have plenty to report in Broxtowe.
Shifting our advice staff to remote working during late March and early April we have been able to build capacity to provide more advice and support by telephone and webchat, reaching 554 people per month by June. Thanks to support from the Nottinghamshire County Council COVID-19 Community Fund we were able to buy additional equipment to allow more of our staff and volunteers to work remotely. Much of our planning has been carried out in partnership with other local Citizens Advice services in Nottinghamshire.
We also set up a dedicated Food-bank Referral Line as we were concerned that people who normally call into one of our advice sessions specifically for help obtaining a food-bank voucher might not be able to get in touch with us. each contact is offered helped to manage debts and maximise their income as well as being referred to a caseworker if required.
Helping the most vulnerable during COVID-19
We have been busy proactively contacting some of our most vulnerable service users. Many of whom might have struggled to contact us remotely. We did this in partnership with Nottinghamshire Mind with whom we run the Eastwood and Broxtowe Wellbeing Hubs. We also continue to work closely with our partners in Brxotowe, especially Broxtowe Borough Council, Broxtowe Women’s Project and Nottinghamshire Victim Care to reach out to those that need help but might experience barriers to contacting us remotely.
Planning the future during a pandemic
We now plan to increase the amount of remote supervision we are able to provide to our volunteers so that more of them can work remotely and further increase our capacity to meet people’s advice needs.
Whilst we know that it will be many months before a normal service is resumed we are committed to providing people with the help they need. Thanks to a grant from the National Emergencies Trust, to buy screens and protective equipment, we have been able to reopen face to face appointments for emergencies that cannot be dealt with by remote contact.