Advice NI, in partnership with the Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC), plan to support carers of children with learning difficulties to become more digitally included enabling them to engage with policy and decision makers and to access their rights and entitlements. Funded by the Department of Health, this project will support carers to learn the digital skills to go online safely and to access their rights and entitlements. We will be sharing more updates on this project in our next edition of Advice Matters.
As you may know the Department for Communities (DfC) is rolling out measures to ensure the advice sector is prepared to assist the general public through the implementation of the ongoing changes to the welfare system.
Advice NI highlights importance of advice services as local government is about to undergo significant change. Ahead of changes to local government in Northern Ireland, Advice NI has called upon local Councils to ensure that the work of independent advice services is recognised and protected.Advice NI leads delivery of independent advice services across the current Castlereagh Borough Council area. The service involves face to face service provision by advisors locally deployed to service the Castlereagh outreach venues. Appeal tribunal representation services and dedicated money advice services are in place, a dedicated Freephone line has been established and an email advice facility is also in place.In April 2015, as part of the reform of local government in Northern Ireland the number of councils will be reduced from 26 to 11. There will be significant changes with the majority of households in Castlereagh merging with Lisburn City Council with 38% of the population of Castlereagh and 21% of Lisburn moving to the new Belfast City Council. The new Castlereagh and Lisburn Council area will have approximately 137,000 residents and approximately 56,000 households.Speaking about the service, Bob Stronge Advice NI Chief Executive said: “Independent advice services are much-needed and highly valued by people across Northern Ireland. Advice NI and member organisations have a proven track record in providing excellent advice services across the community and we acknowledge the support and commitment shown by Councils to advice services. We look forward to working with the new Councils post RPA to similarly ensure that independent advice remains a key community service moving forward.”
Advice NI has proved that technology isn’t just for the young. The organisation has just won an all-Ireland award for its older person’s digital inclusion project, Supporting Active Engagement, which is funded by Big Lottery Fund.