A partnership between some advice, education and training organisations in Portsmouth is in development to find synergies and combine initiatives to provide a more holistic service for people who are likely to need continuing help in resolving their problems.
The partnership will be formed by Citizens Advice Portsmouth, The Learning Place, Highbury College, Portsmouth College, and HSDC.
The approach will be to initially provide advice for the problem from Citizens Advice Portsmouth who have a number of specialist services such as Immigration, Welfare benefit claiming, Employment and Housing law and Debt. Once the initial problem is solved for some people it often recurs. This initiative is intended to help these people break the cycle of dependence (having problems and seeking advice) and to become more skilled and self-reliant.
One of the biggest obstacles is lack of digital skills and access to data. This creates obstacles when claiming benefits and resolving debt and other issues. One of the contributors, Learning Links, provide a very valuable service in Digital Enablement, supporting those who don’t have easy access to the laptops or broadband and they work with individuals and communities, helping them to overcome barriers and gain education, training and get into work.
An addition to these valuable initiatives is that the further education colleges in Portsmouth are now working with Citizens Advice Portsmouth and Learning links to provide a service in which people seeking advice can be referred on to free, suitable further education courses to increase their self-reliance. This project has not yet been launched but will become available in the near future.