SoBEL and the Advice Richmond-Together for Change ASTF partnership
‘Advice Richmond – Together for Change’ is a Big Lottery funded project under the Advice Services Transition Fund. This fund was set up to enable local not-for-profit providers of advice services to continue to give vital help to people and communities. The focus by the delivery partners (Richmond CAB, Age UK, Richmond Aid) is to bring together established voluntary sector agencies across the borough to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of local advice services to help residents across Richmond, Teddington and Twickenham affected by welfare reform or in-work poverty and other social welfare needs. AdviceUK has supported the network from the outset to the end of the first year of the programme with a range of activities including facilitating three sessions which are outlined in the letter below. Our input has enabled local agencies to work together more effectively and develop constructive relationships with other partners.
An additional positive outcome of our work with Advice Richmond has been a recommendation to another ASTF partnership. SuperHighways, one of the Richmond ASTF stakeholders, who has attended the sessions and seen how we facilitate these events has subsequently recommended us to the ASTF partnership in Croydon.
The testimony by the ASTF partnership Co-ordinator below summarises the work we have done so far:
ADVICE RICHMOND – TOGETHER FOR CHANGE
C/o Richmond CAB (RCABS)
5th Floor, Regal House
70 London Road, Twickenham
Direct Tel: 0208 8734 3921
To Whom It May Concern
Having won the bid to the Advice Services Transition Fund, we are leading on the ‘Advice Richmond – Together for Change’ project. This two-year Big Lottery (BL) funded project aims to transform the way advice is delivered in the borough. The partnership is made up of twelve local advice giving agencies plus housing providers. There are various different components of the project, e.g. a common client referral system and a central “one stop advice” website.
We are now approaching end of year one on the project and we have been working with Advice UK from the outset. To date, we have held 3 well attended partner meetings, each of which have been successfully facilitated by Advice UK. At the initial gathering, they carried out a SWOT analysis which worked well in terms of getting partners on board/ gaining a deeper understanding of aims.
At the second meeting, Advice UK delivered a Referrals Workshop. Objectives included: developing a common understanding of referrals/ signposting plus discussion of members’ experience of referring/ signposting and investigating an appropriate Referrals Protocol for the project. At the end of year one meeting, Advice UK helped with our Mid-term Review and gave partners the opportunity to feedback on the various project activities/ management. This involved an exercise whereby partners were split into groups and as a result, we have some really useful comments and ideas to report to BL and take in to year two of the project.
The support we have received from Advice UK has directly helped us in enabling advice services and organisations in Richmond to work better together. Both in terms of their professional and effective work at partner meetings as well as in helping us to plan events in order to get the most out of them. For example, at the recent end of year meeting, four questions were suggested by Advice UK as a means of gaining feedback from partners. One of which was around sustainability of the project post funding, which was invaluable in terms of reporting to BL and ensuring the work continues. As above, the project aims to transform the way advice is delivered in the borough which obviously includes Richmond residents affected by welfare reform orin work poverty. Working with Advice UK has supported this aim and helped us to get the best from our partnership.
Advice Partnership Project Manager