Advisors & Social Prescribers: working together for better client outcomes
Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke on Trent (CASNS) is part of a money and energy advice project run in partnership with Sandwell & Walsall Citizens Advice, funded by the Trust. The project supports people in the West Midlands and Staffordshire by offering budgeting and money management advice, specialist energy advice including tariff checks, energy efficiency and home insulation advice and assisting to apply for grants to reduce bills.
Amanda is an energy adviser with CASNS Potteries MoneyWise Team whose role is funded by the Trust. A local Social Prescriber called Louise got in touch to refer someone for help under the project. He is a single male client who has learning and physical disabilities, and is unable to read or write.
The client had solar panels fitted but was unable to heat his home and unable to deal with many issues around billing and benefits.
He needed help with energy and debt of £1000+, did not know about the Warm Home Discount, reduced water bills or extra benefit support due to illness. He also did not have a fridge freezer.
Working alongside the Social Prescriber, Amanda set to work helping the client with all these areas, making applications for grants, signing up for the Warm Home Discount and setting up an affordable payment plan for energy.
A benefit check revealed he was eligible for additional help. An application was made on his behalf and the client supported with the call for Personal Independent Payment. The process was made a lot less stressful for the client as the Social Prescriber already knew them and had access to their medical information.
The following practical outcomes were achieved for the client:
- Energy debt write off £1000+
- Warm Home Discount
- Energy efficiency measures saving £350.00 per year
- Put on Priority Services Register and debt write of £368.00 from solar panels now not in use
- Reduced water bill saving around £357 per year
- Personal Independence Payment with backdated payment of £5000+
- Employment Support Allowance and backdated payment of £500+
- Pension credits
- Mobility scooter to help with trips
- Fridge freezer
Without the early intervention of the client being placed with a Social Prescriber and Louise’s quick thinking of making a referral into the Citizens Advice, this client’s quality of life may have declined as he was classed as in fuel poverty.
The range of support provided, including working on a budget and money management moving forward, means the risk of the client falling back into fuel poverty is reduced.
He has gained extra benefits and better skills in managing and understanding bills. Regular payments are set up to meet the client’s needs and all providers have been informed of the client’s learning and physical disabilities.
The client was grateful for all the support from everyone involved in his case. He can heat his home, no longer has the worry of debt and payments moving forward are all set up.
He knows that he can return to the service if he ever has any problems in the future.
From a case worker’s point of view, Amanda said it was very rewarding to work with this client on a one to one basis and offer holistic, all-round support to him on the British Gas Energy Trust Project, particularly with the help of Louise, the Social Prescriber who made the referral and supported the client through the process.
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