Our Advice & Support Team (AST) is a valuable resource for anyone trying to navigate the complicated world of state and local authority support, or simply looking to apply for a grant from the MCF.
Coming from a range of backgrounds, our AST advisers have a wealth of knowledge in lots of different areas including education, health and social care, and finances – so they are well
placed to help you deal with whatever you’re going through.
So what kind of expertise does an AST adviser have? Let’s have a look at their credentials:
I am an Adviser for the northern regions – specifically covering the Provinces of Northumberland, Durham and Cumberland & Westmorland. I work closely with grants officers, Visiting Volunteers and Almoners to support our beneficiaries.
Part of my job is to assist with applications to the MCF, but I also advise people on their entitlement to benefits and help them to apply. Unfortunately, many people get turned down initially for disability benefits such as PIP (Personal Independence Payment), but we are here to help people through the appeals process – which is usually successful. I also signpost people to other useful organisations in their local community.
Before the pandemic, most of my work was carried out on face-to-face visits, but for the last year I have been carrying out ‘visits’ via telephone, email and sometimes video-conference calls. Whilst this has enabled us to continue our service, I am really looking forward to meeting people in person again!
As a member of the AST, it is important to have good listening skills, because when individuals contact us for help they are often in a very stressful situation. Also, the ability to assess a person’s situation and signpost them to the best resources to meet their needs is crucial, whether that’s the MCF, their Province, or another local or national organisation.
I feel a sense of achievement every time I successfully help an individual or family who are struggling, but helping people who are homeless to find permanent housing is one the aspects of my job where I feel the greatest sense of achievement. If our basic need for shelter is not met, it is very difficult for someone to function in the other areas of their life.
I am a qualified and registered adult social worker, with over 35 years of experience in a range of adult social care settings. This includes managing residential, reablement and day care facilities, safeguarding adults and community social work teams. My experience has been invaluable for my current role, in relation to my knowledge of community resources and how to access them.
Outside of work I am an avid DIYer and I’m currently in the process of renovating my home of three years. I re-purpose furniture and my latest project was refurbishing an old chest of drawers for use as a bathroom washstand!