The Walsall Money Advice Project operates an advice and advocacy service for anyone living or working in the borough of Walsall. A unique service taking money advice into the homes of those in need . Advice is offered on a wide range of matters including welfare benefits, debt counselling, energy advice etc.
The project also refers its clients to other agencies or organisations that can provide advice or services that will benefit the client.
The project receives its referrals from many other agencies in the Walsall borough and directly as a result of distributed publicity and word of mouth.
The project works closely with “Walsave Credit Union” and “Walsall Welfare Rights Team” and currently receives referrals from: Walsall Disability Centre, NACRO, Home Start, Probation Service, Age Concern, Walsall MBC, Hospital Social Work Teams, Local Mental Health Teams, Walsall Housing Group, WATMOS, CAST, Employment Services, DWP, DIAL, SAAFA, Walsall Street Teams, First Base, NCH, Black & Asian Disability Group, Afro Caribbean Centre, Adult Disability Team, Family Guidance, Sure Start, Addaction, DIY User Group, MIND, Bridging The Gap, Glebe Centre, Job Change, Lantern House, Social Services Child & Adult Teams.
A Unique & Dynamic Approach “A unique service taking money advice to the homes of those in need”
When working with our clients the project seeks to provide advice/advocacy for the initial enquiry and to draw out further areas where a client can be assisted. This is achieved through the interview process and the direct benefit of seeing the client in their home environment. Therefore in the case of a client who presents a housing problem – i.e. being unable to exchange or transfer due to rent arrears – Advice is given on the housing issues and then a process of maximising income through benefit advice is carried out followed by debt counselling. The project will assist anyone living or working in Walsall but targets those who are isolated and unable to benefit from traditional sources of advice and advocacy ie single parent families, the mentally ill, elderly and ethnic minorities. The Walsall Money Advice Project is a supporter of the campaign to end extortionate credit - Debt On Our Doorstep. The project is essentially an outreach to vulnerable groups concentrating on supporting clients who need support in the community rather than from the comfort of an office based interview room with the telephone as a means of contact and problem resolution. It is a fact that our client are more likely to succeed in any interview situation when accompanied by a support worker they trust and who clearly has their best interests at heart. Although this method of support is very time consuming and restrictive in the number of clients supported it is the most successful method of support that will foster future independence.
The project worker is multi disciplined enabling support with a wide range of support issues rather than expecting the client to engage with a number of different advice workers. Currently our advice worker is trained in Debt Counselling, Welfare Rights, Employment Law, Housing Law and a range of other support work. This enables us to work closely with our clients to ensure that a number of related issues are managed successfully to promote future independence. Information is a valuable commodity that many of our clients lack and without it they very often fail to achieve the best outcomes from the system in which they must cooperate in order to succeed. We promote the understanding that the systems cannot be beaten but that with correct information there can be successful “System Navigation”. In the areas of Homeless / Housing regulation we support client in successfully navigating their way through the system by providing on hand support and using our information advantage. A client who simply presents themselves to the local authority as homeless on the day will find themselves directed towards hostel accommodation. With support and a visit to the client's relatives we often negotiate and 28 day period of respite, this still enables the client to present themselves as homeless and with an emphasised issue of vulnerability we attempt to ensure priority status
Walsall Money Advice Project
Man will be 158 before debt paid
A Northumberland pensioner will be 158 years old before he repays £25,000 he was accidentally overpaid by a council.
The 75-year-old former local authority worker has been asked to pay back the vastly inflated pension he was awarded at £25 a month. more
Their profit, our loss
The high street banks are making a killing out of consumer apathy, says Rachel Shabi. Yet we remain reluctant to challenge the system that we know is fleecing us more
The Walsall Money Advice Project provides case study for the Guardian
The projects aims to provide individuals and families with access to information and support that will improve their well-being and the social fabric of our community. This can only be achieved by working directly with people to encourage their financial independence through the many services provided. The project currently works with a number of clients who require a higher level of support due to difficult life circumstances. The majority of these clients are either suffering with mental health problems or engaged in the criminal justice system. Clients referred by Addaction, Lantern House, Walsall Probation Service and those who self refer have a greater need of support than the projects other clients. In order to meet this need of intensive support the project has adapted its services and methods of operation to meet this need and to ensure an effective response to this client group. Support given to this client group is flexible, holistic, and includes a higher level of responsive working with respect to failed appointments and/or inability to cope with independent situation management.