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Young people in crisis receive almost half a million pounds in Bristol

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Big Lottery Fund has awarded £499,781 to fund a specialist young people’s advice service across Bristol through a partnership between Avon and Bristol Law Centre, Citizens Advice Bristol and 1625 Independent People.


The five year project called “Just Ask”, led by Avon and Bristol Law Centre (ABLC), will be funded through the £30m Big Lottery Fund “Help Through Crisis”. The project aims to help tackle poverty and homelessness, improve health & well being and help young people to take back control of their lives.

Image: Jamie Gill, Partnership Director, 1625 Independent People / Andy Steward, Advice Services Manager, Bristol CAB  / Clare Carter, Director, Avon and Bristol Law Centre - outside Citizens Advice Bristol
Credit: Mark Simmons Photography.


Research and consultation with young people shows a gap in them accessing crisis support and advice. ABLC, Citizens Advice Bristol (CAB) and 1625 Independent People (1625ip) are specialist advice & youth services in the city and will deliver the project from their city centre locations and provide outreach to youth bases and partner organisations in the most deprived areas of the city. The project will also train and support young people to become peer supporters and advisers.

Just Ask will employ three staff based at ABLC, the CAB and 1625ip, providing hands-on advice and advocacy to 16-25 year olds to:

  • help them overcome crisis, including access to food, accommodation and support
  • gain the knowledge, information and confidence they need to take back control of their lives.

Young people will self-refer or be referred by partner organisations and crucially have one key-worker throughout to ensure continuity and build trust. Together they will identify actions and support them to access relevant services and provide ongoing post crisis support.

Youth Board

The project will develop a voice for young people in hardship in the city through a new cross sector “Youth Board” linked to the existing Youth Mayors, Youth Council & national youth forums.

Improving services for young people in Bristol

A wider aim of the project will be to strengthen how services in Bristol respond to young people’s needs by training local service providers in advice skills and the specific issues and barriers faced by young people.
The project aims to work intensively with over 700 young people and will reach at least 2000 people through training delivery and capacity building support.

Clare Carter – Director ABLC said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with CAB and 1625ip to deliver effective support and advice to young people in crisis in Bristol. Working together we aim to bring about positive change for some of the most vulnerable people across the city”

Sue Evans  - Director CAB said:

“We have had a long held aspiration to develop our services to meet the needs of young people, and this funding will enable us to develop a sustainable model of advice advocacy and support that will enable young people in Bristol to meet the challenges that they face and move forward in their lives. Citizens Advice Bristol are delighted to be working with 1625ip and ABLC on this project”

Jamie Gill – Partnership Director, 1625 Independent People said:

“The Big Lottery Fund has enabled our three organisations to create an exciting new specialist advice service so that young people in crisis in the city can overcome their immediate difficulties, and then with our support take back control of their lives so they can succeed into the future. Young people will play a central role in developing, delivering and evaluating the project so we can be confident that we are succeeding in making a real and lasting difference to the lives of young people in the city”.



Case Study  - ABLC
Alex is a young person who needed help from ABLC when his Disability Living Allowance was stopped and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) refused. Alex had been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and severe agoraphobia. He hears voices which are extremely disturbing and has had no social contact other than his mother and immediate family for several years.  
When the local authority sent someone to assess his needs, he refused to come out of his room. Alex needed help from us with an appeal against the decision to refuse PIP. His mother contacted us and although Alex could not cope with a visit, we gradually established contact with him through email, and in this way, we helped prepare his statement, obtained medical evidence and drafted a legal submission on his entitlement to PIP and will be representing him at his appeal.

Case Study  - 1625ip

Mary was 17 when she came to see 1625ip’s “Bristol Youth Links” service on advice from a friend. Mary was facing street homelessness because her family's home was being repossessed due to rent arrears. Mary’s homelessness followed a very distressing period as a carer for a family member. Mary was not in education, training or employment, had no income in place and as a result of what she had been through was drinking heavily to manage her anxiety levels.
We supported Mary to access overnight emergency accommodation in a hostel. She found it very difficult at a time when she was trying to come to terms with her own experiences. We worked with her to engage with the Housing Advice Team so that we could arrange alternative young people’s accommodation as quickly as possible.
Whilst supporting Mary with her housing we also helped her arrange storage of her belongings, made applications for benefits and referred her for additional mental health and alcohol support.  Mary is now living in specialist young people’s housing and is actively seeking employment. She is engaging really well with support staff and is now finding it easier to manage her health.

More information


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