Citizens Advice Hampshire would like to extend thanks to Radian Housing for awarding us with £500 of funds to spend on much needed comms equipment in order to help clients who are based in hospitals. The equipment will support our existing Home and Well project and make it easier to help our clients fill in forms alongside our advisers. This will be put to use when we are safely allowed back into hospital environments.
Home & Well project features in the Portsmouth News online.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Home & Well has supported 93 people for the main service with 66 signed up for PSR, 26 helped with energy & utilities advice and 13 for water tariffs.
This is particularly important for hospital patients being discharged from hospital, to ensure they have the support they need to keep well in their home and avoid readmittance as they recover. Home & Well is also supported by Citizens Advice Macmillan Advisers, who are helping their clients with energy needs and where required/consent is given, enabling sign-up for PSR online.
Citizens Advice Hampshire has been approached by the NHS to extend the Winter Pressures funding in May 2020 - to take referrals direct from clinicians in hospitals countywide and potentially in the community too; in particular providing wrap-around support for those with mental health needs. The funding will support up to 3 interventions by Citizens Advice Advisers. Home and Well now has excellent an opportunity to develop its service by:
The project was expected to grow incrementally. However, Covid-19 changed all that and after the Home and Well soft-launch on the 20th March we saw a boost in uptake.
With the spread of COVID-19 there had to be a rethink on the approach and delivery of the project. We currently have a team of three part-time H&W Advisers working on the Isle of Wight, in Portsmouth and in Petersfield – now answering calls remotely.
We are learning as we go, many callers for instance ringing the Citizens Advice “Help to Claim” Universal Credit line are also in need of help with utilities and sign up to the PSR. We are also developing strong links with our Macmillan Cancer Advice Service Advisers, who too are asking about their client’s energy needs and where appropriate, signing up for PSR.
SSEN have provided some additional funding to help support existing Citizens Advice clients with energy issues. This is most welcome and being rolled out across the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. This is how it will work.