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Appeal for volunteers as new advice network hub is launched in town

Paul Standbrook.

Paul Standbrook.

Volunteers of all ages and experience are needed to help a new advice service being launched in Bedford.

The Bedford Advice Network is a new project to transform the nature of free advice services in the town which is being funded by the Big Lottery Fund in conjunction with the Cabinet Office.

A number of advice agencies are involved in delivering the project, which aims to improve access to the best help and advice.

Project co-ordinator Paul Standbrook, said: “The project aims to improve the quality and accessibility of advice so that the people of Bedford receive a consistent, high quality service.

“To do this we are developing a common triage (identifying problems quickly) and referral process.

“We are also providing a range of educational workshops focussing on the most common issues people encounter, including money management, retirement and housing.”

The Hub being set up at 7a St Paul’s Square, near Bedford Magistrates’ Court, will mean multiple services can work together and be accessed easily.

Paul added: “We will also be creating a virtual advice hub where services can be accessed through a variety of channels, including social media and telephone.”

But the new network needs volunteers to help it succeed.

Paul said: “We are now recruiting volunteers to help us set up a new telephone information and advice service which will improve access for people, especially those who are unable to benefit from face to face advice.”

This service will offer a number of benefits:

Identify the advice issue(s) quickly and effectively;

Triage calls to ensure that urgent issues receive priority;

Provide immediate information where this resolves the caller’s issue;

Refer the caller promptly to the most appropriate agency where necessary.

Volunteers will be fully trained and supported by Bedford and District Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB).

Paul added: “If you’re interested in informing and empowering people, especially those most vulnerable, good at problem solving or keen to learn how to do that in a focussed way and looking to develop new skills and gain new experiences. then we want to hear from you now.

“By combining our experience, enthusiasm and initiative we can work together to make a really difference for those who need it most.”

Please contact Paul Standbrook, project co-ordinator, either by email at bedfordadvicenetwork@gmail.com or call him on 07961 264620.

 

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