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ANNUAL REVIEW 2013/14


FUNDERS CONTENTS 03 Chair’s Report 04 Island Advice Centre 05 Open Door Services 06 Specialist Services 12 Tower Hamlets Advice Work Training Project 14 Support for Tower Hamlets Advice Centres 15 Advice Services Transition Project 16 Management Committee, Staff and Volunteers 17 Financial Statements 18 Client Statistics 19 Advice Sessions

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MEMBERSHIPS

Island Advice Centre


FROM THE CHAIR S

ometimes it seems that simply surviving a year with a reasonable level of reserves intact is a mark of success. But that is a rather managerial approach which seeing things from the perspective of the management committee can make attractive. It does not give full recognition to the daily successes that our staff and volunteers achieve by supporting members of the community getting the benefits they are due or enjoying other practical day-to-day rights. So before addressing more organisational issues, my first responsibility is to thank our staff and volunteers for all their work without which these successes would not occur. We have been faced by substantial cuts, whether from reductions in our Legal Aid contract or lower local government spending. We have responded in a variety of ways: we have moved to a paperless office, making the online programme AdvicePro central to our data management. Not only is this sound environmental practice, it has also enabled us to reduce our archiving costs. Early in 2014 we were faced with the threat of redundancies but we were able to avoid this by negotiating new funding streams and restructuring the workforce. This has helped us deal better with the impact of such welfare reforms as the bedroom tax.

Island Advice Centre

Receiving an award of funding from the Big Lottery Transition Fund has enabled us to be the lead agency in reinvigorating Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network and playing a more strategic role in the delivery of advice across the borough. We have also received Council funding to provide peer support via workshops and information sessions to other agencies and front-line providers in Tower Hamlets. We have benefited from the recruitment of an increasing number of law students from local universities who have found the experience of working in an advice centre an important way of supplementing their formal academic learning. Another area of support has been from the East End Community Foundation, who funded a new weekly debt and housing session, provided by volunteers, which has relieved pressure on our busy Wednesday drop-ins. This will be my last Chair’s Report, having been involved with IAC for twenty years. I have found this involvement very fulfilling and I have gained much in my learning as well as making new friends. However, other commitments mean that I can no longer give the time which this role necessitates. I wish Island Advice Centre and all its staff, volunteers and trustees well for the future. Fabian Tompsett Chair of Trustees, Island Advice Centre

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ISLAND ADVICE CENTRE I

sland Advice Centre works within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets helping residents secure their statutory and legal rights, enabling them to improve their living standards and quality of life. Access to advice and advocacy is the core work of the organisation, helping people to stay above the poverty line, reduce stress and empower them to deal with their situations. Volunteers are one of the organisation’s invaluable assets and help to deliver the muchneeded advice services provided by us. Training and development opportunities are provided for volunteers and many of our volunteers move into employment. Located in Island House on the Isle of Dogs, we work closely with other advice agencies and service providers in the borough, contributing to local forums and partnerships and helping to provide a holistic service to our users. Our services include: • Drop-in advice sessions from Island House

• Advice work training and accreditation course

• Outreach advice sessions at GP surgeries and community centres

• Development of partnership and joint working

• Home visits • Telephone advice service • Admin and advice volunteer opportunities

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• Specialist advice and casework in welfare rights, housing and debt • NVQ assessments in advice

Island Advice Centre


OPEN DOOR SERVICES I

sland Island Advice provides open-door drop-in sessions and telephone advice sessions where Tower Hamlets residents with a wide range of problems including benefits disputes and appeals, rent arrears, Council Tax debt, utility debts, credit debts, homelessness, possession actions, consumer disputes and other legal issues can get immediate advice and help to resolve their issues. They may be seen either by an experienced adviser or a supervised trainee who will aim to resolve the problem at that meeting. If the problem is one that we cannot deal with we will signpost the client to another agency where they can be helped; if the problem is one that we can deal with but involves a complex issue or needs ongoing work, we will give them an appointment with an appropriately skilled caseworker.

CASE STUDY

Ms S attended the Friday drop-in session distraught by solicitor’s letters regarding arrears on a secured loan and application for a warrant to repossess the property. She was recently separated and was a working single parent with one dependant child. Two older children also lived with her and were in employment. She explained that her husband used to manage the household finances and she was unaware of his failure to repay the loan. She was desperately worried about losing her home. The adviser contacted the lender who said that Ms S also had mortgage arrears and an arrangement for both accounts must be reached at a realistic rate to avoid repossession as an application to the court for a warrant to repossess the property next month had already been made. The adviser went through Ms S’s documentation, assessed her income and expenditure and assisted with a financial statement. She was also advised about some benefit entitlement and about getting a contribution from her working children. Repayment offers for both secure loans were worked out on a pro rata basis and at an affordable rate which allowed the arrears to be repaid within the terms of the loan. This was all sent to the secured creditors. Within 10 days we received written confirmation of the offers being agreed and the warrant application to the court cancelled. Ms S was very relieved to know her home was no longer at risk and continues to make regular payments to her creditors. Service Statistics Wednesday drop-in and telephone advice

Friday debt and housing session

Clients Seen

Clients Seen

1,475

297

Sessions funded by LBTH and EECF

Island Advice Centre

Staff Fatima Begum (Session supervisor)

Volunteers Halema Bibi Meena Hafiz Mohamed Hoque Shamsul Islam Paul Scannell Mila Kostova Matt Noble Chrissey Monroe Ha Nguyen Hien Dinh Mamoona Awan Margaret Higgins Sahrash Ali Sharif Hamza Imah Miah

Drop-in Advice Sessions (No appointment needed)

Island House, Roserton Street E14 (off Castalia Square) Wednesdays Fridays 10am to 12pm

Welfare Benefits/General Debt and Housing

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PROJECT SPECIALIST REPORTSERVICES

SPECIALIST WELFARE BENEFITS HOUSINGADVICE ADVICE

E

nquiries about welfare benefits account for more than half of the agency’s work and our advisers deal with hundreds of enquiries a year including advice about entitlement to benefits, ‘betteroff’ calculations, reviews, appeals and tribunal hearings. Clients who have attended one of our drop-in sessions or phoned our telephone advice line will be referred to our specialist benefits caseworkers if their enquiry is complex or involves a dispute against a benefits decision. In 2013/14 we dealt with enquiries about a wide range of benefits including Disability Living Allowance, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (including sanctions), Employment and Support Allowance, Housing and Council Tax Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments, Tax Credits, pensions and Social Fund applications. Sadly, two of our main funding streams for benefits advice ended in March 2013 (Legal Services Commission and London Councils) which reduced the number of cases we were able to take on by over 600; however, thanks to BLF funding for our Accessible Advice in Tower Hamlets project and funding from LBTH in consortium with Tower Hamlets Law Centre we continued to offer casework services by appointment at Island House, Bromley by Bow Centre and Limehouse Project.

Caseworkers

Muzammel Hussen (supervisor) Fatima Begum (supervisor) Noori Kibria Alona Jezerskiha Volunteers

Hema Lutchmeenaraidoo Alishah Azmin Arifa Choudhury Tamanna Begum Mahmuda Khanom Mila Kostova Emma Triggs

Service Statistics

BLF Category

Clients seen

Welfare benefits

441

LBTH Law Centre Consortium Category

Clients seen

Welfare benefits

165

Services funded by LBTH and BLF

66

IslandAdvice AdviceCentre Centre Island


SPECIALIST SERVICES

WELFARE BENEFITS ADVICE CASE STUDY Mrs X saw a benefits caseworker after her Income Support was stopped, reducing her family income by half. Her husband was subject to immigration control and was unable to work or claim benefits in the UK. Mrs X had been receiving income support for 15 weeks after the birth of her baby, and had another young child. Her income support then stopped and she was told by DWP that she had been overpaid for a period after the 15 weeks and had no further entitlement to Income Support. The caseworker obtained more details of her situation; the baby had been born with a heart defect and had major surgery. He was still unwell and needed care from his mother so she was unable to work or claim JSA herself. She was advised that the criteria for income support were still met - she needed to look after a ‘child whom is temporarily unwell’. The DWP had been aware that her baby had surgery and needed care but did not assess her claim under this route. On representations from the caseworker they still refused to award benefits so an appeal was made. The caseworker prepared a tribunal submission for her and advised on tribunal procedure. Mrs X attended the hearing and won her appeal.

Island Advice Centre

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SPECIALIST SERVICES

DEBT & MONEY ADVICE

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e have continued to offer advice on a wide range of debt issues including utility debts, rent and council tax arrears, credit debts, overpayments of benefits and tax credits, bankruptcy and Debt Relief Orders. Our very experienced debt adviser is an accredited Debt Relief Order intermediary and works with dedicated volunteers to ensure we can meet the growing need for this type of advice. We also offer money management advice delivered in partnership with Bromley by Bow Centre. Clients are given support with drawing up financial statements, changing providers in order to reduce monthly utility bills, and advice about budgeting. Debt advice is funded by the BLF through our Accessible Advice in Tower Hamlets project, the Money Advice Service through the Capitalise consortium, by LBTH through partnership with Toynbee Hall and Bromley by Bow Centre, and by the East End Community Foundation for the Debt and Housing drop-in. Sadly legal aid for debt advice was ended in March 2013.

Staff Sarah Sauvat (supervisor) Moksuda Ali (Money Management adviser – Bromley by Bow Centre) Volunteers Mamoona Awan Aktar Hussain Shamsul Islam Kim Richardson Paul Scannell Margaret Higgins

Service Statistics

BLF Category

Cases opened

Debt

76

Capitalise Category

Clients seen

Debt

123

LBTH - Debt and money management consortium Category

Clients seen

Debt

63

Services funded by LBTH, BLF and Money Advice Service

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Island Advice Centre


SPECIALIST SERVICES

DEBT & MONEY ADVICE CASE STUDY

Ms J contacted Island Advice for help with multiple debts of approximately £6,000. She had been unemployed for the last few years, caring for her severely disabled mother. She had used credit cards and catalogues but could no longer afford the monthly contractual payments. She contacted a fee paying debt management who set up a debt management plan for her in 2012. However, since April 2013, Ms J had being affected by the bedroom tax and could no longer afford the debt management plan. The debt management company had being unwilling to reduce the payment plan and did not advise her about alternative options. Ms J stopped all payments and was very distressed by the pressing demands of creditors. The debt adviser assisted her with a financial statement, gathered evidence of all her debts, and sought a credit report. This revealed that she had another 3 credit debts bringing the total debt to over £10,000. It was evident that as she had no savings or assets and was on a low income she would be unlikely to clear her debts in her lifetime. The adviser assisted Ms J with a Debt Relief Order application which was approved by the Insolvency Services, and referred her for money management advice. Ms J no longer has any debts and feels greatly relieved from the stress she had been under.

CASE STUDY

Mrs F, who was separated from her husband who currently has custody of their two children, was referred to the Money Management adviser because she was struggling to make ends meet. She had water bill arrears but had arranged a payment plan with the water company. Her sole income was JSA payments with full Housing Benefit. The Money Management Adviser helped Mrs F to draw up a budget and she was surprised to see that even on a low income she could be able to save approximately £50 per month, after all her expenses and bills have been paid. Mrs F was given a ‘Spending Diary’ to keep track of her expenses and help plan her expenditure. She was also given information on how to reduce energy costs, and alerted to the fact that as she has a spare bedroom she would be liable to pay 14% of her rent under the ‘Bedroom Tax’ rule, but if she chose to take a lodger she could help boost her income. As a result of this advice Mrs F feels more confident in managing her money and has a better understanding of her finances.

Island Advice Centre

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PROJECT SPECIALIST REPORTSERVICES

SPECIALIST HOUSING ADVICE HOUSING SERVICES ADVICE

O

ur housing advisers dealt with a wide range of cases concerning rent arrears, repossession and eviction, homelessness, disrepair, allocations and succession. Legal Aid funding has continued for this area of law although the number of cases we are allowed to take on and the type of cases that can be covered by Legal Aid have reduced considerably. Other funding for housing advice has come from the BLF for our Accessible Advice in Tower Hamlets project, and from the East End Community Foundation for our debt and housing drop-in sessions on Fridays. Housing casework was carried out by appointment at Island Advice Centre, Bromley by Bow Centre and Limehouse Project.

Caseworkers

Anna Rosen (solicitor and authorised litigator)

Shuhel Alom Volunteers

Imah Miah Justyna Wladarz Yemi Samuels

CASE STUDY

Mrs N was a divorced woman who had been working and living in private rented accommodation since coming to the UK 10 years previously. She had separated from her husband due to domestic violence and her five children remained in Bangladesh. In 2011 she started to suffer from severe depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and was also diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol and arthritis and became unable to work. Her accommodation was in a state of disrepair but when she complained to her landlord, he had evicted her. Once she had received the warrant for eviction Mrs N approached the council’s Homeless Service for assistance. They refused to assist her until Island Advice intervened on her behalf. She was provided with interim accommodation while the council made a decision on her homeless application. They decided that she was not in priority need and our adviser requested a review, asking the council to continue to provide Mrs N with accommodation pending the outcome. They refused and terminated her B&B accommodation, leaving this vulnerable woman on the streets. Despite representations from Island Advice they refused to help her find any kind of alternative accommodation. We paid from our small hardship fund for her to stay in a local hostel for a week while continuing to press Homeless Services to accommodate her. Finally she given further temporary accommodation by Tower Hamlets who have now agreed that they owe her a duty to provide housing. Service Statistics

BLF

Legal Aid agency contract

10 10

Category

Cases opened

Cases closed

Cases in progress

Category

Cases opened

Housing

79

41

28

Housing

76

Services funded through Legal Aid Agency and BLF

Island Advice Advice Centre Centre Island


SPECIALIST SERVICES

GP LINKS

O

ur bi-lingual generalist advice Waziullah Mir carried out advice sessions in five surgeries across the borough. These are appointment-based sessions booked by the GPs and other health professionals on behalf of patients at their surgery with 4 to 6 appointments being available per session. Matters dealt with include a wide range of basic enquiries about benefits, housing and debt as well as form filling. This service is delivered by a consortium of Tower Hamlets advice centres and led by Social Action for Health. The project has been running for over 10 years and has helped many thousands of residents to resolve problems with benefits, housing, debt and other issues of concern. It has also helped to relieve pressures on GPs and other health professionals in busy health centres.

Caseworkers Caseworkers

Waziullah Mir Sarah Sauvat Service Statistics Moksuda Ali (Money Management GP Health andby Bow Centre) adviser - Bromley

Advice Links Project

Volunteers Appointments

Sessions

Margaret Higgins 874 176 Mamoona Awan Service funded through Kim Richardson Social Action for Health Akhtar Hussain Shamsul Islam CASE STUDY In October I met Mrs. B who had been referred by reception. Her husband Paul Scannell left her a year ago and she has been living as a single parent with her three children, the youngest one aged 3, ever since. Mrs. B tried her best to be reconciled with her husband but with no success. He has so far failed to accept any mediation. Mrs. B was stressed and in a dark situation and needed sympathetic advice. She was in receipt of income support, child benefit and child tax credit as a single claimant since her husband left. She needed to make a claim for child maintenance costs and seek legal advice from a solicitor for her matrimonial case. I called the Child Support Agency to help her to claim child maintenance costs. I was able to find a solicitor who agreed to deal with Mrs. B’s divorce case through legal aid. We helped her by resolving her welfare benefit claim and referring her to divorce advice. Her situation has improved and her life has become more settled.

CASE STUDY

Mr. S, originally from Bangladesh, lived in Italy for over 17 years and acquired Italian Citizenship. He arrived in the UK in July 2013 as an EEA citizen with one of his sons aged 18 who suffers from severe learning disabilities and behavioural problems. He is living in private rented accommodation with his son. Mr. S secured work and would leave his son with a friend whilst he went out to his job. He does not earn enough to meet his basic needs such as rent and travelling and living costs. The lack of income had caused him physical and emotional stress. When Mr. S found us in October 2013 he was in a very poor state both physically and mentally. We helped him by resolving his son’s PIP, his HB/CTB and Carer’s Allowance for himself. He is entitled to income support but it may affect their permanent residence in the UK as an EEA national. Mr. S needed his son to be admitted to a special needs school so I helped refer him to the right adviser. Once he had secured a place, we helped him claim Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and his claims are be processed in due course. Mr. S has now found the ways to become settled in UK. He is fully content with our service and lively and hopeful for better life in the years to come.

Island Advice Centre

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TOWER HAMLETS ADVICE

Participants attend a one-year training course to learn the skills and knowledge needed to become an advice worker. They volunteer for two days per week for a year, one day doing a comprehensive training course and the other volunteering in an advice centre in Tower Hamlets. The training covers advice skills - policies and practices in advice such as interviewing, case recording, negotiation skills, letter writing, confidentiality, equal opportunities, welfare benefits, housing, debt, employment, immigration and an outline of consumer rights.

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The volunteering work placement involves carrying out advice and advocacy work duties including interviewing clients, assisting with basic advice, form filling, helping with basic advice issues etc. • 20 completed the 12-month training course and obtained a Learning to Advise Certificate. Most of these are now registered and doing NVQ Level 3 in advice and guidance. •

F ive of the trainees have found paid work: Adviser Asian Women’s Centre, GP Health Support Worker, Debt Worker Island Advice Centre, Debt Advice Support Worker Southwark Waterstone, Solictor Legal Administrator.

• The Learning to Advise course delivered 19 training days over the period. Training included Housing, NVQ workshops, benefit update, Consumer, Employment, Immigration, Negotiation Skills, Job Search and Council Tax delivered one day per week at Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf (free venue and lunch). • Trainees carried out 3,960 hours of volunteering in nine agencies: Island Advice (4), Toynbee Hall (4), Limehouse Project (2), Praxis (3), Poplar HARCA, Stifford Centre, St Peters (3), Providence Row (2), Age UK (2).

Island Advice Centre


WORK TRAINING PROJECT TRAINEES

CASE STUDY - One ex-trainee’s story

COMPLETERS

PLACEMENT AGENCY

Eileen Alexandrou

Praxis

Ayesha Ali

Tonybee

Mohammed Afzal Ali

Poplar HARCA

Jasmin Begum

Dorset Community Association

Shahena Begum Ali

Account 3

Halema Bibi

IAC

Carol Dixon

SBF

Angela Gillon

Praxis

Meena Hafiz

IAC

Naaziah Hossain

LHP

Shamsul Islam

Dorset

Shoba Khanna

City Gateway

Paul Scannell

IAC

Shabana Muhamed Shafi BBBC Zoubir Tiknioune

LHP

Emma Triggs

Limehouse Project

Kamal Uddin

Tonybee

Emily Wing Sham Ho

Chinese Association

Amina Yusuf

BBBC

Abi Yusuf

LAC

Island Advice Centre

I am a qualified, fully trained jeweller/silversmith and designer. I studied at London Guildhall University and following this I worked in the jewellery trade for almost 20 years. For seven years I had my own jewellery retail business managing all business operations. Originally I come from Vietnam and arrived in the UK with my family as a refugee in 1980. For several years I contemplated a change of career, perhaps in teaching or charity work. I was increasingly dissatisfied and disillusioned with the jewellery trade. As much as I enjoyed making and designing beautiful things, I wanted to do something that would make a real difference to someone else’s life. The course covers a broad range of subjects where I can transfer all my skills. Previously self-employed, I have an entrepreneurial background. I possess good communications negotiation and organisational skills. I am also bilingual, speaking fluent Vietnamese. I worked at Praxis and at Island Advice Centre in their busy advice sessions and I saw about five people every day. At Praxis, I interviewed clients to determine at initial stage what the client needed, the urgency levels, and what suitable help was available. I recorded their details to pass on to experienced staff for assistance or signposting. At IAC I helped clients with benefits and other problems. I administered letters and case records and hope to start casework dealing with debt and housing problems as my specialist area. I stayed on after the training course to get more experience and also did NVQ Level 3. Presently, I am still working as a designer and focusing on buying my home. Once I have achieved this, I would like to return to volunteering work and gain further experience in advice work specialising in debt and housing. I am hoping to find permanent, full-time advice-related work. The course covers a wide range of subjects and was very interesting. It has equipped me with the knowledge, confidence and skills to help other people. The course is a valuable tool and I would highly recommend this to anyone. I have met lots of kind and caring people on the training course and at my work placement. Advice work is stimulating and challenging and is a very worthwhile career.

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SUPPORT FOR TOWER HAMLETS ADVICE CENTRES

I

sland Advice has played a prominent role in the Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network (THCAN) and has been providing support to smaller front-line advice agencies through file reviews and volunteer placements and training for many years.

Staff

Thanks to funding from Tower Hamlets council and from the BLF Advice Transition Fund we were able to extend and formalise this support in 2013/14.

Muzammel Hussen

Jo Ellis Steph Dickinson

Agencies supported

St Peters’ Bangladeshi Association

Peer Support project This project is funded by LBTH to support advisers in small front-line agencies to develop their skills and knowledge in welfare rights advice through the provision of information updates, factsheets, training sessions and workshops, file reviews, one-to-one support, and by arranging a quarterly Welfare Rights Advisers Forum. In addition, our staff delivered Welfare Reform information events to council social workers, GPs and mental health professionals.

Stifford Centre Bromley by Bow Centre Dorset Centre Wapping Bangladeshi Association Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets Limehouse Project (file reviews only) St Hilda’s (file reviews only)

Factsheets

• Benefit cap • Bedroom tax • ESA appeals • JSA sanctions • Right to reside • Training courses • Maternity rights • Welfare reform • Housing benefit entitlement • ESA appeals • Benefits overview

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Island Advice Centre


FROM THE CHAIR

ADVICE SERVICES TRANSITION PROJECT During 2013 funds were made available by the BLF for borough-wide activities designed to increase the capacity of advice services to cope with increasing demand for advice and reductions in public money available for delivering them. Island Advice was chosen to be the lead agency in a consortium delivering advice, online support, training and research into alternative methods of delivery. The project also aims to improve the appropriateness of referrals between agencies, to strengthen partnership working, and to provide update the THCAN website.

Staff (Island Advice)

The project started in October 2013 with new welfare rights advice sessions being provided in eight advice centres across the borough.

Toynbee Hall

These were delivered by volunteers and supervised by experienced benefits caseworkers. At the same time two agencies opened weekly sessions for residents who needed help, support and training to access online benefit applications and job search activities. Short training sessions were provided to advisers and volunteers on a wide range of benefits issues, and training was also given to a variety of other front-line service providers on the use of online resources including benefits claims and information.

Jo Ellis Alona Jezerskiha Partners

Legal Advice Centre Tower Hamlets Law Centre Bromley by Bow Centre Limehouse Project

The project is co-ordinated by Jo Ellis who also delivers many of the training sessions.

IslandAdvice AdviceCentre Centre Island

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MANAGEMENT, STAFF & VOLUNTEERS MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

STAFF

Fabian Tompsett (Chair) has been a active member of the local

Centre Manager Centre Administrator Training & Support Co-ordinator Outreach Worker Welfare Rights Caseworker Welfare Rights Supervisor Housing Caseworker Debt Supervisor Welfare Rights Supervisor Welfare Rights Caseworker Housing Solicitor Outreach Worker Admin Worker

community for many years and brings experience and knowledge of the voluntary sector. He has worked in various charities, housing associations and the council.

Katherine Wilson (Treasurer) is a qualified accountant working for an international finance company. She brings financial and business skills to the Board.

Committee Members Shajida Ali worked for Fair Finance and understands the various challenges of local families and communities. She has experience in debt advocacy and needs assessment.

Taj Choudhury works within the borough and has experience of managing local volunteer sector projects. He has experience in management, staffing and finance.

Stephanie Dickinson Moydul Hussain Jo Ellis Wazi Ullah Mir Noori Kibria Fatima Begum Shuhel Alom Sarah Sauvat Muzammel Hussen Alona Jezerskiha Anna Rosen Kim Richardson Rumi Khanom

Runa Khalique is the director of a local charity that supports hardto-reach children and young people. She has experience of outreach, advocacy, research, funding and project management including staffing and finance.

Steve Lake has been a active member of the local community for many years and brings experience and knowledge of the voluntary sector. He has worked in various charities, housing associations and the council. Steve is a retired council officer who worked within the trading standards service for 35 years. He has experience in civil advocacy, project management, IT development and finance. Mahmuda Khanom has been volunteering as an adviser at IAC since 2011. After completing the Learning to Advise training she has continued to work with our welfare rights caseworkers. She represents the volunteers on the Board.

ADMIN VOLUNTEERS Mohammed Hoque Sharmin Aktar Shally Parashar Shainul Islam Gouri Potdar Khalidha Begum

Chris Parsons works for a local advice agency and is an experienced advice supervisor. He brings management, staffing and advocacy skills to the organisation. Shabnam Sharmin trained with and worked for Island Advice Centre before working for the Citizens Advice Bureau as a Debt Adviser. She understands debt issues faced by clients and is experienced in case management.

Thomas Siggers is a solicitor with a large city firm with a commitment to pro-bono activities. He brings business skills and perspective to the Board.

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Island Advice Centre


FINANCIAL STATEMENTS Total Total Unrestricted Restricted 2014 2013 £ £ £ £ Income Resources Voluntary income 171,595 319,622 491,217 511,794 Investment income 192 0 192 361 Total incoming resources 171,787 319,622 491,409 512,155 Resources Expended Costs of generating voluntary income 182,872 360,339 543,211 494,366 Governance costs 3,610 0 3,610 3,765 Total resources expended 186,482 360,339 546,821 498,131 Net income/(outgoing) for year (14,695) (40,717) (55,412) 14,024 Funds brought forward 163,572 40,717 204,489 190,265 Funds carried forward 148,877 0 148,877 204,289

Island Advice Centre

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CLIENT STATISTICS Age Statistics from

2,765 clients

Ethnicity 18-25 years 26-49 years 50-64 years 65+

3% 81% 9% 7%

Gender Disability 22%

Asian/Asian British 2% Bangladeshi 41% White/White English 19% Black/Black British 6% Black/Black British Caribbean 1% Somali 10% African other 3% Chinese 1% Eastern European 1% Other 16%

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Male 45% Female 55%

Island Advice Centre


ADVICE SESSIONS Free, confidential, independent advice on welfare rights, housing and debt from basic advice and assistance to court and appeal level. Bengali-speaking advice workers available. Home visits to housebound clients in E14.

Drop-in Advice Sessions

GP Advice Links Project

(No appointment needed)

To book an appointment phone the surgery/ receptionist directly: Mondays 9am to 12 noon East One Health (fortnightly) 1pm to 4pm Spitalfields Practice Tuesdays 9am to 12 noon Chrisp Street Practice Wednesdays 9am to 12 noon Barkantine Practice (fortnightly) 1pm to 4pm Island Health

Island House, Roserton Street E14 (off Castalia Square) Wednesdays Fridays 10am to 12pm

Welfare Benefits/General Debt and Housing

Telephone Advice Sessions Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am to 12 noon

Phone 020 7987 9379 for general advice or to discuss your case.

Advice by Appointment Appointments are available for generalist advice at some GP surgeries, for form filling and for specialist advice in welfare benefits, debt and housing.

Island Advice Centre

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www.island-advice.org.uk Registered Charity Number: 1076857 Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Company Number: 03375266

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