A number of local charities working through the Brighton and Hove Advice Partnership have developed a webcam service for people needing advice on housing and welfare benefit issues in the city.
The Big Lottery funded service will allow people to receive free, confidential advice accessible to people who may otherwise find it difficult to get to the office for an appointment.
The easy to use booking system allows the client to book a date and time that is convenient for them and at that time an experienced adviser will contact them directly via webcam to begin the advice session.
My colleague Elaine Sammarco, who is BHT’s Senior Manager for Advice, said: “The webcam service is an exciting new way for us to deliver free, confidential advice on housing and benefit issues to people in Brighton and Hove. We want to make our advice as accessible as possible to as many people as possible and webcam advice is a great way of doing this.”
Simon Whitwell, Digital Advice and Inclusion Worker, said “In 2014, 38 million adults (76%) in Great Britain accessed the internet every day, 21 million more than in 2006. With so many people using the internet regularly we believe this is an excellent way for people to access our service easily.
“We understand that not everyone has access to a computer and the internet and so we will be working with community centres in the city to make sure the service is accessible to those who are digitally excluded too. As well as webcam advice helping to make advice available to more people, we also retains the personal element of a face to face appointment that can sometimes be lost over the phone.”
Paul Sweeting, who is the Business Development Coordinator for the Brighton and Hove Advice Partnership, said: “This is a really good example of innovative, joint working in the city. There’s been lots of input from a whole range of agencies into the project so far and we’re all really excited to see how it develops”
Anyone who would like to speak to a housing and welfare benefit adviser using the new webcam service can do so by going to the Advice Brighton and Hove website and clicking on the ‘booking an appointment’ button.
Advice appointments are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fri days between10am and 4pm
Evening sessions are also available on Wednesdays when advice is available from 2:00 until 7:00pm to ensure people who work during office hours are able to access the service.