2017/18 was all about consolidation and collaboration for St. Luke’s Advice Service as we settled into the various partnerships that were established in 2016.
As always the demand for our services continues to grow and we’re pleased that our capacity to cope with this demand has kept pace with this increase in those needing our services.
We saw more clients in the autumn of 2017 than we’ve ever met with before and were delivering over 300 hours of face-to-face advice per month in September, October and November.
This has been possible through the recruitment of more paid staff and our current team consists of one full time Service Delivery Manager and four part-time workers as well as our extremely experienced and valued volunteer advisers.
We have also been able to offer an adviser within the Advice Hub in Hove as well as continuing to develop the home visits begun at the end of 2016. The credit for this expansion of our service is largely due to the good work of Grace Smyth as our Service Delivery Manager who is an extremely important member of the team and I’d like to thank her for her dedication and efficiency. We hope to further develop our team over the coming year with the recruitment of a part-time volunteer co-ordinator to better recruit and serve those who work with us as volunteers.
The partnership with Citizens Advice, Money Advice Plus, Brighton Housing Trust and the Youth Advice centre is now called Advice Matters and is working extremely well and we continue to operate as part of the Moneyworks scheme across the city with these same partners.
In February of 2018 the external auditor checked the quality of our work and confirmed we meet or exceed the requirements laid down for the nationally recognised Advice Quality Standard. We are pleased to have the quality of our work recognised. This involved quite a challenging process, and we are currently working through some changes to our training programme as a result of this, to ensure we continue to demonstrate best practice.
We have an excellent board of Trustees who have been very engaged with the day to day running of the service as well as taking time to develop a very comprehensive strategic plan, working on funding and reviewing our communication. I’d like to thank them for all their time and effort over this past year.
First and foremost St. Luke’s Advice Service exists to provide excellent advice and care for those in need in the city of Brighton & Hove. We are passionate about helping those experiencing the challenges of Universal Credit, reductions in benefits, DSS sanctions and general poverty in a compassionate and professional environment and are committed to providing that for anyone who asks for our help.