We deliver free, independent, confidential and impartial advice covering all the substantive areas of law typically undertaken by not for profit advice agencies – with a focus on benefit, debt and housing, but with provision also relating to, employment, family law and immigration and in respect to “consumer” matters relating to goods and services and in partnership with Citizens Advice colleagues providing the national Citizens Advice consumer services.
In key areas, we are able to offer advice at all levels – we are a Specialist Quality Marked provider – an additional accreditation to that required through our membership of Citizens Advice.
We are an accredited training provider – holding Skills for Justice Centre Accreditation and have developed a “customised award” of relevance to the sectors we work with.
Services are offered principally in Northamptonshire, with a focus on Northampton, Wellingborough and in East and South Northamptonshire Districts. Some services are countywide and a number of other services regional.
Current funding to support our work include:
• Housing associations (Viridian, East Midlands Homes and Orbit Group) supporting income maximisation and debt advice
• Borough and district councils – supporting benefits and debt advice as part of our core offer
• Legal Aid – supporting work in respect to matters considered “in scope” for current contracts to deliver housing advice – including support to clients facing the repossession of their rented (or exceptionally) mortgaged home
• Health service funding – supporting work in GP services
• Trusts and foundations
• Macmillan cancer support – supporting work with people affected by cancer – helping with the financial impact and typically involving benefits advice and support and help with debt matters.
• Citizens Advice sourced “Energy Best Deal” funding supports energy advice and typically involves income maximisation.
• Western Power Distribution – supporting customers referred from the company – typically with benefits and debt matters.
• Funding from various sources – including the Santander Foundation to support work with homeless or vulnerably housed people to find and sustain privately rented accommodation.
Whilst much of our work is not focused on any particular client group specific funding and project activity supports the following client groups:
• People affected by cancer
• People who are fuel poor
• People who are in water poverty
• People who are homeless or vulnerably housed
Funding from Anglian Water – which is for work undertaken for customers from across the Anglian Water region – is principally to undertake an assessment function but does include an element of non-contentious income maximisation work
Overall funding for 2015/16 will be just under £1million with over 90% funding work directly with individuals – the remainder supports various financial capability and public engagement activities. No detailed analysis of how this spend relates to benefits and debt work has been undertaken but this constitutes the majority of those issues tagged or identified as being addressed through contact with clients and correspondingly constitute the majority basis on which our clients initially contact us.