Many ACFA members organise advice sessions at outreach venues around the region and occassionally we get together for an Advice Event.
Bristol Welfare Reform Conference - 2 December 2015
Jointly hosted by ACFA: The Advice Network, Bristol City Council and Knightstone Housing Association, the aim of this conference was to:
- gain a better understanding of the likely impact of various welfare reforms for Bristol citizens.
- prepare the voluntary and public sector for the increased level of advice and support likely to be required.
- encourage the sectors to work together effectively, using limited resources to provide coordinated services that target the most vulnerable members of our communities.
The pace of the welfare reform agenda will shortly deliver a wave of changes which will have a major impact on the lives of many Bristol citizens:
- 35,000 people in Bristol will be affected by the reduction in Tax Credit Payments
- 2,500 people will be affected by the introduction of Universal Credit by March 2016
- The benefit cap, which up to now affected only families with 4 or more children, will now impact on families with 2 or 3 children
- There are currently 14,000 on the Bristol Housing Register waiting to be rehoused
- The rate of increase in people relying on foodbanks in the city has risen by 14% in the last year and is set to increase further in 2015/16.
Over 90 individuals from across the public and voluntary sector, from chief executives to front line staff, who are known to have a can-do attitude and are open to new ideas were invited to participate in the #Bristolwelafrereform Conference. They were asked to:
- share personal experience and knowledge
- explore new ways of thinking and partnership working
- turn words into actions
... all with the aim of better supporting the challenges faced by the Bristol Citizen in the light of the Welfare Reform Agenda.
Each delegate received an ACFA branded USB stick containing a host of useful material:
- Attendee List
- Bristol City Council
- Centre for Sustainable Energy
- Child Poverty Action Group
- Knightstone Housing Association
- List of useful Websites
- Multi Agency Working
- National Policy Institute
- Biographies of Speakers
- Briefing Paper for Welfare reform conference
- Nomis Bristol Demographic Report
- The Locality Report: 'Saving Money by Doing the Right Thing' March 2014
- Joanna Holmes - CEO of Barton Hill Settlement and Chair of Locality
Joanna has been at Barton Hill Settlement for the past seven years. Barton Hill Settlement is a multipurpose neighbourhood organisation serving an inner city area of East Central Bristol and Joanna is responsible for a wide range of services and activities for 15,000 people per annum. She worked in both the health service and a local authority before this. As well as being Chair of Locality, Joanna has been involved in many initiatives during her work in the voluntary and community sector and has a track record of working with others to find solutions to difficult local problems.
- Tom McInnes - Research Director at National Policy Institute
Tom leads on all major reports into poverty and social exclusion, co-authoring over a dozen reports in the area. He has been at NPI since 2006, having previously worked as an analyst at the Department of Health. In addition to NPI's ongoing monitoring poverty work, Tom leads on NPI's reviews of international poverty strategies and the links between poverty and disability. Tom also works on expanding NPI's work into new areas, such as housing and ageing, as well as developing the presentation of analysis through info graphics and interactive data presentations
- Paul Treloar - Advice and Rights Manager at Child Poverty Action Group
Paul has more than 20 years’ experience of providing welfare rights advice and information, appeals representation and policy making, with a number of organisations including CPAG, Disability Alliance, Gingerbread and LASA.
- Di Robinson - Director of Neighbourhoods at Bristol City Council
Di has worked in the public sector over the past 18 years, mainly delivering in the areas of Neighbourhood Management and Governance, Service Transformation and Community Engagement. Her current role as Service Director for Neighbourhoods with Bristol City Council includes managing the city's Neighbourhood Governance agenda, Community Development, Voluntary Community Investment, Libraries and Regulatory Services. Di is currently working with the Voluntary and Community Sector in Bristol to co-design a Grants Prospectus in order to maximize the impacts of investment on poverty and inequality in the city.
- Ian McIntyre - Project Manager, Universal Credit at Bristol City Council
Ian joined Bristol City Council in January 2005, administering Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (as it was then). Since then he has held a variety of roles including supporting citizens with complex benefit issues, developing benefits knowledge within frontline services and working in complex policy areas, such as supported accommodation. Ian has developed a specialism within Bristol City Council in the implementation of welfare reforms and the council tax reduction scheme at a local level, working across the council to support citizens affected by the changes In addition he has lead on projects to improve service delivery. His current role is leading on the delivery of Universal Credit for the council as well as coordinating the response to challenges that will come out of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill such as the impact of reducing the overall benefit cap.
- Emma Young - Individual Empowerment Team Manager at Knightstone Housing
Emma spent the first 16 years of her career working within the travel industry managing different branches and being part of the sales teams, before making the huge decision to change careers and look at different opportunities with the housing sector.
She is currently part of the Individual Empowerment Management team at Knightstone Housing, which provides multidisciplinary support to our residents which includes, Digital Inclusion, Financial Inclusion and careers advice. Her role enables her to ensure Knightstone residents experiencing difficulties in their lives are given quality support and advice along both internally and by signposting/ referring to external services. Emma is passionate about the quality of wellbeing of Knightstone Residents and, in line with the Knightstone philosophy, making every contact count.
Blue Monday Advice Event - 18 January 2016
A report on the Blue Monday 2016 can be downloaded here.
Blue Monday 2016 was a partnership between Bristol City Council, Cash Pointers, Citizen’s Advice, Pennywise and Talking Money. Pennywise and Cash Pointers funding currently ends in December 2016 and February 2017 respectively. While both projects are working hard to attract further funding, they’re keen to get more organisational support to ensure Blue Monday 2017 is bigger and better than ever despite this. At each Galleries Advice event the partnership team has grown, along with the ease of organisation, the breadth of advice and activities on offer, the atmosphere on the day and the overall success of the event. We all want to keep that upward trend going!
They are looking for new partners; involvement in Blue Monday as a partner offers genuine exposure for your project. As a partner you would have prime position in the Galleries, have your logos on promotional materials and receive publicity and press coverage, in exchange for attending planning meetings and supporting an area e.g. fundraising, communications/marketing, stallholder organisation, visitor feedback.
Marketing materials are available upon request: