Advice organisations from across Renfrewshire have come together to improve the public’s access to free and effective advice through the creation of an easy to use, informative website and dedicated phone line.Back Row: Claire Strong – Shelter, Fiona McCrae – RAMH, Joe Ferrie – Engage Renfrewshire, Paul Henderson – RAMH, Debs Allan – Connect4 Renfrewshire, Scott Duncan – LEAP, Kay Taylor – Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau
Front Row: Liz Willis – Advice Works, Cllr Michael Holmes and Fiona Brown – Shelter.
Advice Renfrewshire, a one-stop-shop website linking citizens with the appropriate organisation to assist with their issues, has been created through the Advice Partnership Renfrewshire; a group of trusted advice organisations operating in Renfrewshire who are working to ensure advice services in the area are easy to access and meet client’s needs. The website is designed to help those looking for guidance on a wide variety of issues, including welfare benefits, money and debt management, health and housing advice as well as legal, consumer energy and more, by signposting them to the organisation that is best equipped to help with them. A dedicated, free phone line has also been created as part of Advice Renfrewshire for clients who are not online, or who would rather speak to someone about their problem.
Denise McCole, one of the website’s testers recruited by ROAR – Connections for Life said: “The website is easy to use and full of useful information. I would be happy to recommend that people use it.”
Renfrewshire Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Mike Holmes, said: “The launch of Advice Renfrewshire is a result of the collaborative efforts of the Council and our partners to realise our goal of improving advice services in the area, to ensure that everyone has access to free, quality, relevant information that meets their needs and addresses their concerns.
“Improving access to advice services was identified as a key recommendation by the Tackling Poverty Commission and the launch of Advice Renfrewshire demonstrates our commitment to delivering this.
“By creating a place where citizens are able to confidently identify the right help we are providing them with the information they need to help to improve their circumstances.”
Organisations supporting the site include Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau, local mental health service Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH), Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union for savings advice, Renfrewshire Law Centre, Engage Renfrewshire, Shelter and Renfrewshire Foodbank as well as the Council’s own Advice Works service.
Stephen McLellan, Chief Executive, RAMH, commented: “RAMH welcomes the opportunity to link with partner organisations, particularly where this provides a speedier, more responsive service to service users.
“We know that speedy, accurate advice greatly benefits people and minimises the stress and anxiety which too often adds further complications to someone’s situation.”
Kay Taylor, Manager/Director at Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “At Renfrewshire Citizens Advice we see on a daily basis how difficult it can be for individuals to find the right support when they need it. That’s why we are delighted to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council to support Advice Renfrewshire: a collaboration between a number of agencies who together provide a referral network to ensure people get the support that they need quickly.
“Renfrewshire Citizens Advice will manage the telephone service for Advice Renfrewshire, so clients can be sure to receive the usual free, impartial and confidential experience that they have come to expect from their local CAB. Anyone looking for advice in Renfrewshire can call 0808-1642922 where we will clarify which agencies deal with their particular issue then provide an instant referral to the clients preferred agency”