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New service to help residents be ‘Better Off’

A new ‘Better Off’ advice service is being piloted with the aim of making it easier for residents to access support with their personal finances.

With the public launch set for mid-April, we caught up with Sheena Campbell, Programme Manager, to tell us more about the new service in her own words:

What is the Better Off Hub all about?

It is a new delivery model that we are piloting for a two-year period, starting in the Three Towns, which explores a different way of providing financial support here in North Ayrshire.

What makes it different is that it bridges the gap in debt advice services currently offered by expanding on the traditional ‘single service’ approach by bringing together a range of partners from across the Council, Health and Social Care Partnership and the Third Sector.

Ultimately, it will create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for residents seeking assistance with managing money and debts, welfare rights advice and help with energy costs as well as support with health and wellbeing and employability.


What is the aim of the Hub?

The key aim of the Hub is to improve access to a range of advice services to help our residents achieve longer-term sustainable outcomes – in financial capability but also mental and physical health and social inclusion.

This will be done through a single point of contact/key worker approach which will reduce the need for residents to make appointments with multiple agencies – eliminating the need to re-tell their story each time.

The new Better Off is being delivered through a Public Social Partnership. The delivery model will be continuously monitored, reviewed and evaluated through frontline workers and clients.

Social Value Lab has been contracted to develop and implement a Social Impact Measurement Framework and an Impact Report.  When the pilot ends, this infromation will inform funders and decision-makers when considering the future provision of advice services across North Ayrshire.


Who is involved ?

A number of service providers are involved in Better Off:

  • Key workers, money/debt and welfare rights advice and digital support services is provided by CHAP;
  • Help with energy costs is provided by Lemon Aid (Citrus Energy);
  • Employability support is provided by North Ayrshire Council, CEiS and the Lennox Partnership; and
  • Health and wellbeing advice and support is delivered by Community Link Workers.


Why is it important to have a joined-up approach to financial support?

By bringing a number of agencies together, it allows us to offer a much more comprehensive, agile and responsive service for local people.


Who can access the services?

The new Better Off can be accessed by any Three Towns resident aged over 16 who is in need of advice and support with debts, managing their money or with benefits or energy costs.

Until mid-April we are only accepting referrals from support agencies, but will open up to self-referrals thereafter. We hope to be able to widen the pilot to residents in other localities in the coming months – depending on demand and capacity.


What would your advice be to anyone reading this that has financial struggles, but is too afraid to seek support?

You are not alone.  Many people, whether in work or not, across all ages and circumstances are facing financial difficulty – this is particularly prevalent now due to the impact of Covid-19.

There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about in coming forward and seeking support. The advice offered thorugh Better Off is free, independent, confidential and provided by experienced, knowledgeable and skilled advisers.


How can people access the Better Off Hub?

We are currently offering video, email and telephone support due to Covid-19.  However, as restrictions ease, we will begin offering face-to-face appointments in the Three Towns.

Keep an eye on the Council’s social media channels over the next few weeks to find out more.

If you want to refer somebody to Better Off call 01294 475629 or email

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