Articles in Category: Blog

Office Closure

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***Due to staff training on the 17th April we will be open from 9am to 12:30pm and will be closed for the remainder of the day and will re-open at 9am on the 18th April***

*** Due to staff training on the 19th April we will be closed all day and re-open at 9am on the 20th April ****

If you have an appointment with another service at the office please ring the doorbell in reception.

We apologise for any inconvienience caused.

Portsmouth Together to take part in new national programme

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Portsmouth Partnership chosen to take part in new national programme

The Portsmouth Together Partnership has been chosen as one of the 20 places in England to take part in the first phase of the Placed Based Social Action programme.

The Placed Based Social Action programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money, and is managed by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Place Based Social Action programmes aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area. It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.

Between now and December 2018, Portsmouth Together will work with Locality, the national network for community organisations that bring local people together to meet local needs, to design a local social action plan.

Portsmouth Together started in 2014 when Portsmouth become part of the Cities of Service UK Programme. From initially focussing on a small number of impact volunteering initiatives, Portsmouth Together has developed into a city wide volunteering service and become the volunteering development agency in the city recognised by all sectors and local residents.

The partnership also comprises representatives from all sectors across the city including Portsmouth City Council, Citizens Advice Portsmouth, Portsmouth CCG, The Southern Coop, Portsmouth Disability Forum, Shaping Portsmouth, Pompey in the Community and the University of Portsmouth, representing all sectors of the community and bringing a wide range of assets to the partnership.

Sandy O’Neill, CEO of Citizens Advice Portsmouth and Chair of the Portsmouth Together Partnership said, “We are very excited that our Partnership has been chosen as one of the 20 places in England to take part in the first phase of the Placed Based Social Action programme.  Whilst the partnership has already developed a range of volunteering and social action initiatives, we see this as an opportunity to create and deliver a City wide social action sustainable strategy that is owned not just be the City Council, but by the wider community and citizens across Portsmouth.”

Brian Bracher, Portsmouth Together Coordinator said, “We are clearly very pleased that the work of the Partnership over the past 3 years has been recognised.  However, being selected as a Placed Based Social Action location means that we can really step up our engagement with local groups and residents. Over the next 10 months the Partnership will work with local community groups and residents to create a shared vision and plan setting out how social action can respond to the priorities facing our city.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Deputy Leader, Portsmouth City Council said: : “I’m delighted that Portsmouth has been selected to participate in the Place Based Social Action Programme.  Social action in the community is at the heart of many of the projects that we’re delivering with partners across the city.  We’re keen to maximise this and further explore the potential as we believe it’s fundamental to how we shape our vision for the future.”

In January 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships taking part in the first stage of the Place Based Social Action programme will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to put their plans into action. Following this, up to five of these partnerships will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.

To find out more about the Portsmouth Together Partnership and how you can get involved in the Place Based Social Action Programme Portsmouth please visit the website

Press Release - Mental Health Staff

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Mental health staff increasingly dealing with 'vicious cycle' of patients’ wider problems during clinical time
8 out of 10 mental health staff said that dealing with a patient’s practical issues left them with less clinical time to treat their mental health issues, Citizens Advice has found. Over half (57%) reported the proportion of time they are spending on non-health issues has increased compared to last year.
Citizens Advice conducted a survey of 244 mental health practitioners who deliver NHS England’s Talking Therapies programme. These services provide treatment of anxiety disorders and depression in England.
Nearly all (98%) respondents said they had dealt with a patient’s non-health problems during an appointment in the past month.
The most common problems mental health staff are assisting with are debt and money problems, unemployment and work, housing and welfare.
Mental health staff reported these problems had a negative impact on their patients’ ability to manage their mental health, complete a course of treatment and ultimately recover.

More than half of those surveyed reported increased stress as a result of dealing with these non-health problems.
Mental health staff reported they have spent appointment time helping patients with these problems through:
  • budgeting or debt management plans
  • contacting public services/agencies of the patient’s behalf
  • providing supporting letters
  • assisting patients complete benefits applications
  • contacting creditors on the patient’s behalf
Citizens Advice helped over 100,000 people who reported having a mental health problem in 2017.
Citizens Advice data shows clients with mental health problems are more likely to face  multiple, complex problems compared to the average client. In 2017, clients with mental health problems had an average of 5.3 issues per client, compared to 3.8 problems per client overall.
In the past 2 years, Citizens Advice has seen an increase in the number of clients with mental health problems, including an 11% increase in those who require advice on benefits.   
CItizens Advice is calling for advice services to be integrated in more mental health settings to alleviate the pressure on frontline mental health staff and to better support the needs of people with mental health problems.
Roughly a third (34%) of respondents had access to an integrated advice service within the mental health setting.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
"If you're living with mental health problems, everyday issues like managing your money, dealing with your landlord, or applying for benefits can be much more difficult to manage. But if these issues aren’t addressed, they can often escalate and make mental health problems worse - creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break free from.
“Providing people with practical support is essential to make sure these problems don't spiral out of control, but this should not be the job of already stretched mental health professionals. To reduce pressure on frontline NHS staff and better support people with mental health problems, advice services should be available in mental health settings as a matter of course.”
One of the mental health practitioners surveyed by Citizens Advice said:
“There is always a certain amount of [practical problems] in therapy but it has become entirely unmanageable. Very often my entire assessment and subsequent intervention will be related to social or financial issues. That is not our role, can be stressful and is an expensive use of health care practitioners’ time.”
Dr Jed Boardman, Lead for Social Inclusion, Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“In order to stay mentally healthy, we all need enough money in our pockets, a decent roof over our heads, some valued work, and a supportive environment.  People with mental health problems need all of these to aid their recovery, as well as engagement with effective therapies.

“The effects of the present lack of advice services available for people with mental health conditions, as highlighted in the report, are exacerbated as mental health professionals try to do their job in the context of increasingly stretched resources. Integrating advice services in mental health settings is one important means of improving the lives of people with mental health conditions and the mental health workforce.”

Simon Crine, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:

“We at Money and Mental Health welcome this important new research from Citizen's Advice. As our own research has shown, too often mental health professionals find themselves sorting out debt and money issues at the expense of doing their day job.  Integrating debt advice into mental health services would be a win-win for mental health professionals and people with mental health problems.”

CEO Sleepout - Donate

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On 16th April 2018, our Chief Officer Sandy O'Neill will be spending the night sleeping rough in Fratton Park with many other Business leaders in the city to raise money for the homeless.

You can help Sandy raise money for this great cause by donating directly to her fundraising page just Click Here.  Please give as generously as you can. You can read Sandy's story via:
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Your donation can really make a difference.
JustGiving send your donation straight to CEO Sleepout and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation s worth even more.
Thank you for your support!

What customers say

“I was very low when I came to the CAB, with debts and problems everywhere. I am now a lot happier, as I pay one sum of money each month and get left alone by creditors”.