ANDREW WILLIS, BCAv
Andrew created Banburyshire Advice Centre, a charity offering the disabled, elderly, unemployed and people in poverty help not available elsewhere. Andrew, a graduate and former teacher, raised over £60,000 through grant applications and selling his own art cards.
He is particularly proud that in one year the net gain through benefit advice to clients was over £51,000. Additionally, the charity provides essential items such as food vouchers, securing grants and successfully negotiating repayment terms with landlords to prevent homelessness.
On arrival at the centre all clients see an adviser, consultations can last up to three hours. Advisers help in completing forms and work hard to achieve the best possible outcome. After dealing with the primary issue, advisers then work on understanding the underlying challenges, this way they are able to genuinely bring a stop to the often-downward spiral of poverty.
Whilst the centre is not designed to offer debt counselling, it is geared towards helping people avoid debt. Often it is the most desperate people that turn to the Advice Centre as a last resort, and yet Andrew feels privileged to volunteer and sees the smile of a relieved client as his true success.
Nominated by: Tina Turvey