News

News

Skype’s the limit for advice network

Advice network provides on-demand advice with Citizens Advice Wigan Borough

A network of advice giving agencies and Citizens Advice have launched a unique service that will allow people to gain support on a range of issues from wherever they choose.

The Wigan Advice Network’s (WAN) Skype Advice Service will provide residents living in the Wigan Borough with access to free advice from Citizens Advice Wigan Borough (CA) at a time and place convenient to them.

Available on Skype-enabled devices, such as tablets and laptops, or via dedicated terminals available across Wigan and Leigh, the new service will allow users to speak face-to-face with a trained adviser – receiving instant support or being referred to an agency or charity who can provide further assistance.

The Skype Advice Service – the first of its kind in the Wigan Borough – will provide users with advice on a wide range of subject, from how to access housing and health services, to dealing with debt and finance issues.

Lisa Kidston, Chief Officer at the Citizens Advice Wigan Borough, said: “Good and timely advice is essential to people’s well-being and quality of life, and we are always looking for new and innovative ways to help people.

“By partnering with the Wigan Advice Network to launch the Skype Advice Service, we are making advice more accessible, whilst ensuring people have access to help and information when they need it most.”

The service is being trialled at the Higher Folds Community Centre, before being rolled out at venues across the Wigan Borough, including Ashton and Tyldesley SureStart centres and Wigan Housing Solutions offices.

People wishing to access one-to-one advice can also do so from their home or office provided they have access to Skype.

Commenting on the new Skype Advice Service, Leigh East Councillor and Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services Keith Cunliffe, said: “This is an innovative approach to helping people access a valuable and important service.

“At Wigan Council we very much advocate the use of digital technology to improve services and empower people.”

To speak to a qualified adviser using the Skype Advice Service, text ‘Help Skype’ to 87023 or email advice@wigancab.org to book an appointment at a convenient time and place.

This latest project already builds on three services designed by WAN to improve the availability and quality of advice throughout the Borough.

In July 2015, WAN launched the region’s first Advice Referral Centre (ARC) - an online resource for all community, voluntary and public services. The ARC means that anyone in need of advice or support can be efficiently referred to the right services for their needs.

The Network also provides an online self help guide on its website, empowering the public to search for the right advice agency to solve their issues.

To ensure the quality of advice dispensed throughout the Wigan Borough remains high, WAN runs training programmes to help charity and agency staff learn more about issues facing local people, including courses on Universal Credit and how to spot problems before they become major issues.

If you need advice, support, or someone to talk to, please visit www.wiganadvicenetwork.org or call Wigan Borough Citizens Advice on 0344 826 9694 to speak to an adviser.

Back,L-R Julia Jenkinson, Project Development Manager at WAND, Lisa Kidston, CEO of Citizens Advice Wigan Borough and David Rainford, Center Manager at Higher Folds Community Centre launch the Skype Advice Service at Higher Folds with Leigh East Councillor and Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services Keith Cunliffe (sitting)

(Standing) Lisa Kidston and David Rainford chat to advisors Ben and Gayle over Skype with (sitting) Cllr Keith Cunliffe and Julia Jenkinson

•Anger counselling

•New & expectant parents counselling

•Ante/post Natal depression counselling

•Child bereavement

•Child Anger

People must self-refer where possible to show a commitment to the counselling process. the-wigan-churches-association-for-family-welfare

Referral/admin line is 01942 867888

The YMCA Ashton are offering free use of their rooms, to all small charities and community interest groups.

If you know of anyone who may be interested please contact:

Joyce Gorman 01942 274684 or e mail joyce.gorman@ymcaashton.org