Widening Access to Information and Support
- Widening Access to Information and Support
The Equalities Project seeks to broaden the range of volunteering opportunities available for people across the protected characteristics. This includes people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, LGBT communities and people with disabilities. Through the volunteer programme, we aim to increase confidence, skills and knowledge, as well as increasing community participation in public life. The project has developed over time and now provides a number of services to the community that are not otherwise available. It is funded through the Scottish Government Equalities Fund.
Each year we recruit at least 45 volunteers for this project, and all of them take part in an extensive six month training programme. The programme ensures volunteers develop the skills and knowledge to be able to provide advice and information to clients in compliance with standards set by the Scottish Government and Citizens’ Advice Scotland. After completing this initial training, all volunteers continue to receive tailored support and supervision, including goal setting, problem solving and progress checks.
We have found that volunteers who participate in the programme feel very positive about the experience, and most of them move on to employment or education. As people from across the protected characteristics are more likely to be affected by poverty and inequality, this shows that the project has been a great success and has contributed to diversifying public life. If you would like to get involved in our Equalities Project, please visit our Volunteer page.
The Equalities Project benefits the Bureau by increasing awareness of and sensitivity towards cultural norms that can impact on clients, and by helping to address the barriers to service that clients from across the protected characteristics can face. Through the volunteers’ and staff’s expertise, it also provides a number of valuable services to the community.
Get an insight into the Equalities Project here:
This clinic was set up by the Equalities Project in 2012 in response to the number of clients attending the Bureau, particularly refugees, who wanted help with applications to extend their leave to remain. The clinic now offers specialist advice and assistance on a number of applications and processes such as settlement in the UK, spouse visas, UK citizenship applications, and residence permits for EEA nationals. We also conduct a telephone helpline for other Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and external agencies dealing with immigration advice requests.
Like all our services, the clinic is completely free. This is particularly important because legal aid is not available for non-asylum immigration advice and instructing a solicitor to complete these applications can cost up to £500. The clinic therefore plays a vital role in ensuring that people are not prevented from securing these statuses due to financial circumstances.
The Immigration Clinic is made possible by the skills of our Equalities Project volunteers, who collectively speak twelves languages including Farsi, Tamil, Arabic, Tigrinya, Swahili and Urdu. It is this that allows the clinic to operate and for us to properly assist clients whose first language is not English.
If you would like to attend our Immigration Clinic, please make an appointment by calling 0141 576 5104
Intensive Care Syndrome: Promoting Independence and Return to Employment, or InS:PIRE, is a person recovery programme which runs at Glasgow Royal Infirmary for surviving patients of the Intensive Care Unit and their caregivers. It is a joint initiative between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the University of Glasgow that aims to improve the quality of life for patients and their loved ones, and to empower patients to take control over their health and wellbeing.
Each programme runs for five weeks and encourages a small group of patients who were discharged six to twelve weeks previously and their caregivers to speak to others in a similar situation. A large proportion of people leaving intensive care experience significant physical and psychological health problems for many years after discharge, requiring changes to many areas of their life and making a return to employment difficult. The programme helps participants to adapt to this with the assistance of a range of professionals. Our Bureau provides bespoke advice and support to participants in the final week.
Take a look at what those behind the InS:PIRE project have to say about their work:
Video password: InS:PIRation
To find out a bit more about this project visit their website here.
Chinese Community Outreach
The Equalities Project runs a specialised outreach service in Possilpark Library for members of the Chinese community. This outreach provides people with advice on a number of issues including benefits, housing, and financial inclusion that would otherwise be difficult to access.
Please see our Outreaches Page for details of how to attend.
Maryhill Integration Network
The Maryhill Integration Network outreach was developed in response to the needs of their users, specifically targeting people who would face difficulties accessing the Citizens Advice Bureau. This outreach covers issues relating to benefits, debt, housing, consumer and utilities. Appointments are on a Wednesday afternoon between 1.30pm and 4.30pm.
Appointments can be arranged through the Maryhill Integration Network or through the Equalities Project on 07551 904 892.
The Garnethill outreach was developed in response to the needs of users from Central and West Integration Network and the wider BME community. The outreach covers issues relating to benefits, debt, housing, consumer, utilities and immigration.
Appointments are on Wednesday Afternoon and can be arranged through the Equalities Project on 07551 904 892.