Bromley By Bow Centre – Collaboration between advice services and social prescribing
The Bromley by Bow Centre has been funded by the Trust to deliver “East End Energy Fit” a dedicated Fuel & Energy Advice service since 2018, the Trustees have awarded further funding to allow the project to continue to deliver until March 2022, in order this vital support is available for vulnerable clients within the local community.
East End Energy Fit provides personalised, in depth, 1:1 energy advice and assistance to 840 unique beneficiaries in or at risk of energy crisis in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham, and neighbouring boroughs. It combines crisis support and resilience-building so residents can independently manage their energy costs to prevent recurrence of crisis and improve long-term affordability. Their energy advisors are all qualified to Energy Awareness Level 3 and to give benefit and debt advice.
The advice covers a holistic assessment of client need and full casework support with:
- debt management including payment plans, debt relief grant applications, advocacy for bill disputes and provision of prepayment fuel vouchers
- bill reduction through tariff/provider switching support, Warm Home Discount, WaterSure applications and energy efficiency advice
- income maximisation through benefit checks and applications
- Priority Services Register support
- applications for capital grants and essential home items e.g. white goods
- combination of interaction types e.g. home visit and phone to provide bespoke support as needed (dependant on Covid-19 situation and current guidance)
Bromley By Bow Centre have recently published a new report on the potential for collaboration between social prescribing and advice services in healthcare settings. The report explores the relationship between social welfare legal advice services and social prescribing but findings broadly apply to all types of advice service. It looks at how collaboration and joint-working can maximise the collective impact of both services, benefits clients and increases efficiency.
The research, supported by the Mayor of London and The Legal Education Foundation draws on examples of best practice from across London and the UK and makes recommendations across a range of areas including:
- Referral pathways
- Working protocols and data sharing
- Delivery methods
- Scaling up
Evidence from the report states:
- Services working together help contribute to a positive culture-change in healthcare settings
- Access to both social prescribing and advice services ensures holistic and comprehensive support to vulnerable people.
- Destigmatisation of advice takes place when offered in a neutral, familiar setting
- Focus on early intervention through collaboration prevents escalation of situations
- There is significant potential to identify unidentified and unmet need
- The report seeks to maximise collaboration between services to meet increased demand and highlights advice as a critical element of an expanded definition of care in recovery from Covid-19.
The report can be downloaded here – Social welfare advice and social prescribing in health settings report