Advice service gets a town centre office

Andrew Willis outside the new Banbury Advice Centre office NNL-190807-125642001
Andrew Willis outside the new Banbury Advice Centre office NNL-190807-125642001

People struggling with Universal Credit, personal independence payments, carers’ issues and other concerns now have a town centre advice service.

Banbury Advice Centre, which has an office at Hanwell Fields Community Centre, now offers aThursday session at Borough House, Marlborough Road.

The centre’s head is Andy Willis who leads a team of ten volunteers.

“Universal Credit is the problem we help people with mostly but we help people with forms for attendance allowance, blue badges, personal independence payments and other benefits,” he said.

“Universal credit poses barriers for some people because it’s designed to be used on the internet and not everyone has a computer and is on the net. Also some people aren’t on email and need help setting one up.

“We help them fill the forms so they can get the benefits they are entitled to. These are not ‘scroungers’, they are people who need benefits to be able to live their lives. They may be disabled, the elderly, pensioners or families who need help.

“We’re a partner of the Food Bank too so we can refer people there if they face a long wait for their Universal Credit.

“We also run a carers’ support group once a month at Hanwell Fields,” said Mr Willis.

Although the service does not have wages to pay it does have office costs, travelling and other expenses and funding is always on a knife edge.

“Grant funding is usually for a year so we’re constantly having to look for funds,” he said.

For appointments or to donate, call 01295 257974.