The National Lottery Community Fund announce support for Citizens Advice Nottinghamshire and Nottinghamshire Mind
Citizens Advice Broxtowe will lead a partnership that aims to change the way vulnerable clients are helped out of crisis and improve their long term outcomes. The project entitled Changing Lives – Managing Futures has received a grant offer of £448,364 from the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) to extend a project, first run in Broxtowe. The pilot that led to the successful application to the NLCF is funded by The Henry Smith Charity with additional support from Broxtowe Borough Council.
Changing Lives – Managing Futures was designed in consultation with residents, volunteers and clients of Citizens Advice Broxtowe who have faced problems in the past and turned to the charity for help. The new service will provide proactive advice and support for clients in repeat crisis who want to receive help to change their lives through an agreed action plan that includes proactive advice contacts, mentoring and working with Nottinghamshire Mind to improve mental resilience. The formula is simple but effective.
- Resolve the beneficiary’s immediate crisis.
- Once identified keep in touch and work with the participant to manage the practical issues they face and keep them out of crisis.
- Provide mentoring so that the beneficiary becomes better able to manage problems.
- Seek to build confidence and resilience through the availability of Nottinghamshire Mind support services.
Citizens Advice services in Nottinghamshire are describing the initiative as ‘outcomes focused advice.’ Neil Clurow, Development Manager for the service in Broxtowe and Ashfield explains: “The majority of grants for community advice services are outputs driven, based on how many people are helped and the areas of law we advise in. They require us to measure success by outputs and quality control not sustainable outcomes. This project is designed to achieve equality of outcome for all our clients and recognises that some of our clients may need different types of coordinated and proactive support in order to live better lives and gain positive futures.”
The Broxtowe pilot (called the Broxtowe Wellbeing Hub) evaluated its impact in new ways and the resulting impact report pilot discovered that “The project has moved our most vulnerable beneficiaries from a position of reduced or no long term outcome to a greater outcome than that of the average client.” The indicators used were based on the clients improved ability to manage problems, ability to access advice when help was required and not wait until a crisis before seeking help. The research also found that participants benefited from learning new skills, feeling less isolated and increased optimism.
The initiative is part of a wider COVID Community Recovery Plan that sees the local independent advice providers tailor services to help those impacted by the pandemic. A recent survey of clients helped in the last 12 months found that over 70% reported being impacted by the pandemic, of whom 67% reported a mental health impact, 38% had reduced income and 36% felt their health had deteriorated.
Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Broxtowe, Sally Bestwick says; “our services have reached people who have suffered from the pandemic, its restrictions and lock-downs. We are building a service based on the knowledge we have gained during the COVID crisis and the experiences of our clients to help build back our communities.”
Rollout of Changing Lives – Managing Futures will begin from July and include services run by Citizens Advice offices in Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Mansfield, Newark & Sherwood and Nottingham City with Mind Nottinghamshire providing an integrated support service across the project.