The Hastings and St Leonard’s Advice and Community Hub is home to
- Citizens Advice Bureau 1066 (CAB 1066),
- Hastings Advice Representative Centre (HARC),
- BHT Hastings Advice, and
- BHT Finding Futures.
This week it celebrated being open for 1,000 days and marked the occasion by holding an event that was attended by the Leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Jeremy Birch, Chief Inspector Paul Phelps, local councillors from Hastings, and other organisations as well as staff and board members from each of the organisations.
The organisations work together to provide a one stop shop for people with advice needs.
Since the Hub opened in March 2011 it has welcomed 15,000 visitors from Hastings and the Rother area who are looking for advice on a range of issues such as housing, welfare and debt.
In these 1,000 days, services at the Hub:
- have prevented homelessness or housing conditions improved for 974 people,
- have helped clients with over £16,500,000 of debt problems,
- have represented 1,086 clients at benefit appeals with a 95% success rate, and
- have helped over 500 people gain at least one personal learning goal such as learning to read or write.
My colleague Jo Wilson, who is the BHT Hastings Advice Manager, told the local paper: “Our housing advice and court duty services have prevented homelessness in almost 1,000 cases in the 1,000 days we have been at the Hub. The annual cost to the state of each homeless person is £25,000 which means our efforts have saved in excess of £25,000,000.
“We have calculated that over the 1,000 days that we have been open at the Hub, all three organisations have a joint value of over £50,000,000 through savings to the state, increased incomes for clients, the management of debt and attracting funding into the local economy.”
Cllr Jeremy Birch, Leader of Hastings Borough Council, spoke at the celebrations and said: “The Hub is the first combined advice hub in the country bringing together housing and benefits advice and general advice all together in the same building, a real benefit for local people. The council is really pleased to support this innovative approach and to provide significant grant assistance. We congratulate the Hub on its first 1,000 days and look forward to many more.”
The Advice and Community Hub is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 4.30pm. Drop in to get some advice or call 01424 721458.