People in Winchester who need advice will get an even better service following the launch of the Winchester Advice Charter. 

The Charter was launched at a Big Advice conference for advice-givers in Winchester District in June organised jointly by Citizens Advice Winchester District, Community First Winchester, and Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC). 

Winchester District Advice Charter

More people are asking for advice about money, benefits, employment, health and social care and many other issues. Natalie Webb, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Winchester District, said, “We are seeing more and more people who need our help, and often their advice needs are quite complicated. People need advice about more than one issue, and sometimes they need specialist support from different services. That’s why it’s so important that we work with other organisations to ensure that we help our clients get the right support, from the right service, at the right time.” Natalie presented evidence highlighting issues that might affect people’s needs for advice, for example mental health, an ageing population and the disparity between affluence and poverty in the District. 

Nearly fifty representatives from about 30 organisations, from Age UK to Friends of the Family, agreed to work more closely together. They welcomed the Charter, which they hope will become the gold standard for anyone who gives advice in Winchester District. 

Hampshire County Council, which was represented at the conference, is reviewing advice provision across the whole county. “Winchester today, Hampshire tomorrow!” said Chris Holloway of Winchester Action on Climate Change. “I'm hoping that the Winchester Advice Charter will be taken up across the county, so that we all work together to get the best possible advice to everyone who needs it.” 

Other ideas for the future included bringing volunteer advisers together so that they all know what each other can do, a shared website for organisations that sign up to the Charter and have a quality standard, and pooling expertise so that advisers can support each other. Someone who works with older people, for example, could get specialist advice from someone who focuses on housing; someone linked to a school could draw on the knowledge of a disability organisation.

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