“We are accustomed to our workload ‘spiking’. But this is the biggest spike we’ve ever been through, and it’s all about benefit changes”.“We’ve had to turn young people away and lock the door. We’re a drop-in centre where sometimes people can’t drop in, because we haven’t got space or advisers. We just have to put up a sign saying ‘Sorry we’re full. Come back another day’.” – Advice Agency
Advice services in Hampshire are potentially facing a ‘perfect storm’ of decreasing capacity and increasing demand.
Public spending is decreasing, and the benefits system is going through radical changes. Advice providers are finding it increasingly difficult to access sufficient public funding, and many other income streams are dwindling or drying up altogether. The full effects of the benefit reforms will take several years to work through the system, and in the meantime free-of-charge advice services are likely to be needed more than ever.
The Bill Sargent Trust commissioned Kirsty Rowlinson of Community Action Hampshire to interview front line advice agencies in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton between December and March this year and ask them what the spending reductions and welfare reform meant to them and their clients.
Her report was presented on 11th September at a free seminar where the key findings were discussed and workshops looked at the implications of the research for advice services in Hampshire.
Following our launch seminar on Wednesday 11th September in September attended by 70 representatives of advice agencies, Councils and other statutory and voluntary organisations the report is now available for free download.
Summary Report Click Here
Full Report(57 pages part colour) Click Here
Summary of points from the event(3 pages) Click Here