North Bristol Advice Centre

AIM AND MISSION

To promote social justice and combat poverty by providing free and independent advice and support in North Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

We help people at times of crisis, work to address the causes of deprivation and support people to take practical steps to improve their situation in the longer term.

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

Increase social justice and improve financial wellbeing.

Increase skills and confidence and access to training.

Increase and promote digital inclusion.

Reduce loneliness and isolation.

Support and strengthen the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve, building resilience.


WEBSITE AND CONTACT

Website: http://www.northbristoladvice.org.uk/         Email: katherine@northbristoladvice.org.uk

Social Value Contact: Katherine Tanko (contact as above)


CASE STUDIES

Sarah’s story

Sarah, 32, is a single mum with a disabled 8 year old son. She has Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. She worked until her condition deteriorated and she was retired on health grounds. Sarah applied for PIP but was awarded zero points. She lodged a Mandatory Reconsideration, but this was unsuccessful. Desperate, Sarah came to North Bristol Advice Centre for help to appeal. Our advice caseworker helped Sarah prepare her documents, including medical evidence from her doctors, and accompanied her to tribunal. She was awarded the maximum rate for both components, totalling £141.10 a week.

“I lost my job back in May last year. I applied for PIP and at the assessment the nurse gave me points, but not very many. She didn’t know about my condition and didn’t understand it so she couldn’t see how it affects me. Then I got a letter saying I didn’t qualify, giving me zero points. The DWP just seemed to ignore all the points I made.

We were lucky to find out about North Bristol Advice Centre. Coming here the first time, I felt Ruth could help because she knows about PIP. I think the way the information was presented to the authorities was very professional.

It was very quick in the court. They asked me a few questions and said we’re going to award you the higher rate.  We were there 15 minutes and got the maximum award from zero.

I really feel sorry for people who haven’t got access to support who qualify for PIP. I don’t think I would have got any money if we hadn’t had the advice.”

Joan’s story

Joan is 74, lives alone, and suffers with bouts of depression. She was referred to Community Navigators by her GP.  Navigator Laura visited Joan at her home to share information on local groups and services and discuss Joan’s interests. Joan was keen in a volunteering role she could do regularly.  She also wanted help with her mobile phone which she was struggling to use.

Laura identified local volunteering opportunities and Joan chose a charity shop which she could easily get to on the bus. Laura accompanied Joan when she visited the shop to meet the manager and helped her to complete the online application form. Laura suggested the Get Online drop-in at North Bristol Advice Centre for help with her mobile phone and to develop her digital skills.  Joan was too nervous to go on her own so Laura accompanied her the first time.  A volunteer worked with Joan to resolve some of her issues and by the end of the session she was able to text and make phone calls.

Joan is now volunteering three times a week. She has returned to Get Online twice on her own, once to resolve a tax issue and another time to apply for travel insurance online.

“I enjoy meeting people and the people I work with are lovely. Susannah (get online volunteer) was very friendly and I feel comfortable going on my own now when I need help. I would definitely recommend Community Navigators to others who are isolated and want to get out more.”


NBAC Community Advice Champions