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Our new agile service

It has been very exciting to be able to meet partners, clients and colleagues in person,  as we emerge from the pandemic, reflect on everything we have all learned, and plan our post- pandemic service. Our new approach will be to offer a wide range of routes into advice for Westminster

residents, including digital, phone and face-to-face, with new outreach activity in a broader range of venues.

We recognise that not everyone is

able to access advice via digital or phone, especially speakers of other languages who don’t have access to other support, and in areas including debt advice and welfare benefits, where sharing documents digitally is not easy. Going forward, we will prioritise these clients and cases for face-to-face advice appointments.

Since the end of July, our advisers have been back in person twice a week at North Paddington Foodbank. As reported below, I am delighted  that, since 9 August, Advice Shop is now back  once a month at the Beethoven Centre and Churchill Gardens.  Check the dates and  further information on  the slots available for prebooking.

We are also continuing our successful Zoom drop-ins so that any Westminster resident can have a confidential virtual assessment at the click of a button. These now run every Wednesday from 10 – 1 pm.  Find out more here.

Other new services and projects include:

  • Promoting access to online advice as part of a project supported by The Pimlico Million. This will support residents to use their smart phones to access advice on- line and to make use of on-line prebooking and webchat.
  • Specialist energy advice, with a strong focus on clients experiencing fuel poverty, measured by both energy efficiency of properties and low income. 13.6% of households in Westminster experience fuel poverty and we will be reaching out through Big Energy Saving Network champions as well as providing specialist advice.

As part of our digital strategy, we are also introducing a referral platform, Refernet, to simplify and streamline cross agency referrals. More information will be available as this is rolled out over the next two months.

If you would like to get involved in our challenging and exciting  work serving the Westminster community, visit our website where you will find information on our volunteer roles.  We are also looking for new trustees.

Joanna Cain

Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice Westminster

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