Foodbank volunteers to get cash advice training

October 30 2015

VOLUNTEERS at foodbanks in North Bristol are to receive special training to help users with financial difficulties.

VOLUNTEERS at foodbanks in North Bristol are to receive special training to help users with financial difficulties.

The ‘Community Advice Champions’ scheme – developed by North Bristol Advice Centre in partnership with North Bristol Foodbank – will see foodbank volunteers in Horfield, Southmead, Lockleaze and Filton receive training in welfare benefits issues, helping them to identify problems and signpost clients to appropriate support.

Volunteers will gain an understanding of what benefits are available, changes brought in by welfare reforms, tax credits and how to make a claim. They will also learn how to fill out charity application forms on behalf of clients.

The training is being delivered by the North Bristol Advice Centre, which provides specialist welfare benefits and debt advice across North Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Stewart North, manager of the North Bristol Foodbank, said: “[We have] been serving clients in North Bristol for just over three years.

“We are delighted to work with North Bristol Advice Centre as we want to extend the help offered to clients, in order to address the underlying cause of their crisis and help them break the cycle of poverty.

“We are keen to see ‘Community Advice Champions’ as a way of working in partnership so that foodbanks will act as community hubs, providing people with emergency food and support, all in one location.”

Drew Huskisson, advice team manager at North Bristol Advice Centre, said: “People who are struggling financially are not always aware that help is available.

“The scheme will give foodbank volunteers the background information they need to identify underlying issues and signpost clients to the professional support they desperately need.”

In addition to the training course, volunteers will shadow a North Bristol Advice Centre advice worker to see the knowledge and skills that they have learned put into practice.

They will then be supervised during a client appointment of their own by an advice worker with feedback provided.