South Bristol Advice Services

 

Award amount: £51,000

Organisation: South Bristol Advice Services

The Older Person’s Disability and Home Visiting Project

South Bristol Advice Services (SBAS) provides guidance on welfare, benefits and debt issues to the community in South Bristol. It also offers an additional service for vulnerable and hard-to-reach clients through the provision of a home visiting service.

We awarded a three year grant in August 2014 to benefit older members of the community who are often unaware of, or do not have the capacity to, fully understand their rights regarding additional income and support entitlements as a result of illness or disability or, indeed, age. Home visits are much appreciated by older clients, who might not have the confidence or physical ability to visit the agency’s office for advice. They might also prefer to discuss these issues at home as, for a lot of older people, they may be embarrassed or feel stigmatised. The following quotes from some of SBAS’s older clients demonstrate their preference of discussing these issues at home:

“At ease in your own home, makes you feel more comfortable.”

“More comfortable and relaxed at home to talk more easily”

During the course of the grant, SBAS received referrals from health professionals, family, friends and clients who approached the charity directly. SBAS provided tailored support, assessing the welfare and benefits options available for clients, as well as evaluating each client for other needs, such as health, with referrals to Partner Agencies. The referral system was designed with health professionals in order to ensure that those clients who were at risk and/or suffering from poor health were easily identifiable. Support was also provided to carers, who received advice on applying for the Carers Allowance.

As a result of this service, the benefits to clients have been wide ranging, including:

  • being better able to manage their own finances and being supported in debt situations
  • helping to prevent health conditions from worsening
  • helping to keep them in their own homes for longer. One client remarked that as a result of the advice “I can remain independent”.
  • providing peace of mind when having minor repairs done to their home
  • providing help and guidance in securing benefit support, such as the Winter Fuel Payment and Attendance Allowance.
  • income maximisation
  • helping to reduce isolation, thereby improving health and well-being and quality of life. One client said that as a result of the advice “I am less stressed”. Another client commented that “I feel that life is easier and feel relieved.”

Over the course of the grant the charity supported 674 older people, of which 527 received home visits. The financial gains for clients over the course of the grant have been considerable with £609,140 secured.

By improving the income of older people, this can directly, and very tangibly, improve their quality of life, for example, by allowing them to heat and maintain their homes to a better standard and pay for transport and care, plus better, more nutritious food.