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How advice services provide the ‘ultimate safety net’ for people in crisis

7 July 2015

As we launch our new funding programme to help people living in hardship, Director of the Advice Services Alliance Lindsey Poole explains why advice services are vital for helping people cope with crisis. 

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Lindsey Poole

I have a problem; I can’t describe what my job is. My job title is Director of the Advice Services Alliance, but if I try to explain that I run ‘an umbrella group for umbrella groups’ to a new acquaintance, they often raise a quizzical eyebrow.

But that is honestly what the ASA is, we represent the advice sector, but this is a long way from what my job is about. Like the famous NASA janitor who told President Nixon his job was ‘to put a man on the moon’, the purpose of my job is to help ordinary people manage extraordinary difficulties and hardship in their lives.

Advice centres have a long history of opening their doors to people at the most sensitive end of changes in the economic and political climate. Change hits these people first but they may live in an area that is particularly deprived or may lack the personal experience or resources to address their problems alone.

Advice workers provide the ultimate safety net for people, whether they are hit by a one off crisis like a relationship breakdown or short notice eviction or an enduring problem like disability, caring for a relative, or managing debts. Through engaging with people in crisis the advice sector can help them understand their legal rights and how to do deal with similar situations in the future.

Like many other parts of the voluntary sector, our work is often at its best when delivered in partnership with others. We can provide an essential part of the help a client might need, but the issues facing the people we see are often complex. It is by working in collaboration with others, that the client can have all their needs addressed and a circle of support put in place to provide resilience in the future.

So, to say the Advice Services Alliance is pleased with the announcement of new Help through Crisis funding is like saying 1 July 2015 was warm for this time of year! The advice sector is in no doubt about the challenges ahead, but we are ready to build on the partnerships of the voluntary sector and design our services around the client.

You can find out more about our Help through Crisis here. To find out more about the Advice Services Alliance, visit their website

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