Hurrah! The Citizens Advice ‘Martin Lewis’ Fund is up and running

Last year I blogged that as part of my ongoing  I made a donation to support the superb work of Citizens Advice. The charity decided to use the money to set up the ‘Martin Lewis innovation fund’ (its name, not mine).

Well, I’m delighted to say that launched today, so rather than me regurgitating, here’s its press release…

Citizens Advice services share £625,000 through Martin Lewis Fund

Citizens Advice services across England and Wales are today celebrating sharing £625,000 from the Martin Lewis Fund to help make a real difference to local people’s lives.

Awards of £25,000 are being given to 25 local Citizens Advice services to deliver projects that will provide more support to particular groups of people and help them in new and inventive ways.

Local Citizens Advice will be able to share their learning and potentially encourage others to launch similar projects so that more clients across England and Wales benefit.

Projects include:

Citizens Advice Elmbridge West: Will train volunteers to provide longer term support for people who have experienced domestic abuse and additional problems they may face such as housing and finance to help them towards independence.

Citizens Advice Denbighshire: Will engage mothers and families in need of support by working with their local health visitor and midwifery team to deliver early advice on problems such as debt, benefits and managing finances which will in turn improve their health.

Citizens Advice South Sandwell: Will promote and deliver advice services to people who do not have English as their first language and are not currently served by interpreting services locally by using a digital translation platform, trained volunteers and staff.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce this funding to 25 Citizens Advice services. The funding will give them a chance to build on what they have already achieved with their pilot projects. Not only will the funding help local people to solve their problems, but the local services will capture what works well and share their learning so that other people across England and Wales may also benefit. We’re very grateful to Martin Lewis for his ongoing support.”

Martin Lewis said:

“Few realise Citizens Advice, which is at the bedrock of British society, is a charity not a government agency – a shame as the work it does is truly life saving. I’ve met many people who were suicidal over legal or money life challenges they couldn’t cope with, yet a visit to their local Citizens Advice put them on the path to dealing with it.  As a huge fan of the organisation, I wanted to do something to help it pioneer new ways to reach out and improve people’s lives, and I’m excited to see where this takes us.”

The awards announced today follow an initial award of £1,000 in September 2015 to test initial project ideas. The funding comes from a £1 million donation from Martin Lewis to Citizens Advice across the UK in 2015.

Projects had to fit into categories including making people more digitally skilled, working closely with health and social care providers, and future opportunities for volunteers.

The 25 Citizens Advice services are:

Citizens Advice Braintree, Halstead and Witham
Citizens Advice Bury District
Citizens Advice Central and East Northamptonshire
Citizens Advice Denbighshire
Citizens Advice East End
Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West)
Citizens Advice Enfield
Citizens Advice Exeter
Citizens Advice Greater Manchester
Citizens Advice Kensington and Chelsea
Citizens Advice Leicestershire
Citizens Advice Liverpool Partnership
Citizens Advice Merton & Lambeth
Citizens Advice Middlesbrough
Citizens Advice Peterborough
Citizens Advice Powys
Citizens Advice Sandwell
Citizens Advice Sheffield and Law Centre
Citizens Advice South Somerset
Citizens Advice Southend
Citizens Advice Stockton & District
Citizens Advice Stroud & Cotswold Districts
Citizens Advice Taunton
Citizens Advice Three Rivers
Citizens Advice Welwyn Hatfield