Awards Spotlight - Ablewell Advice Walsall
Introducing Ablewell Advice Walsall, Improving Access to Services award winner
The photo above was taken in December 2019.
Why do you love what you do?
We love being able to help make a real difference to the lives of the people that we help within Walsall. We love helping empower our clients to overcome the barriers they face, whether this is through debt or benefits advice, urgent help through our foodbank or helping them find work. We enjoy being able to help them improve their skills and confidence and contribute to community life in Walsall.
What is your proudest moment from the work you’ve done in your community?
Last year we brought in £1.8 million in additional income for clients, mainly through helping people to access disability benefits to meet the extra costs of living with a health problem. We are especially proud of this figure, given that we only have two advisers, who both work part-time.
The Awards are about bringing people together. Can you tell us about some of the great things that are happening to bring people together in Walsall?
Our Job Club helps to bring people together with a common purpose - finding work, volunteering, or training. We enjoy noticing how our job club members ‘gel’ together and start to support each other.
Our project is a mission project of Central Hall Methodist Church in Walsall but we have support from the 6 other churches in the Walsall Methodist Circuit, enabling us to bring together people from across the town with the common goal of supporting vulnerable people.
We have also developed a large team of volunteers and currently have over 25 people volunteering with our foodbank. We love the camaraderie that they have developed between such a diverse range of individuals, as they work towards the common aim of helping our clients who are in difficulty.
Can you tell us about an individual/organisation in Walsall/nationally/globally that you admire and why?
We admire the Joint Public Issues Committee, which brings together the Methodist, Baptist and United Reform Churches to highlight and challenge inequality and campaign for social justice. We are inspired by their Reset the Debt campaign, which highlighted that debt was becoming an increasing problem for households and communities across the UK.
Can you share something that you have learnt during the pandemic?
We have learned how resilient and inspiring the community of Walsall can be. We were astounded at how effectively the community stepped up to support families with children and vulnerable residents.