The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association re-opened its advice service this month, after the organisation succeeded in securing new grant funding to restart the project.
The Fitzrovia Advice Service is available to residents in Fitzrovia, and across the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden.
An advice service had been run from the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre since 1975 but closed in June 2019 before Camden Council took back the building for repairs and refurbishment the following month.
The building at 39 Tottenham Street has remained empty ever since with little sign of any progress on the homes Camden intend to create on the upper floors and in the basement, or the small commercial unit on the ground floor.
Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association had planned to move to a new office in Kings Cross but a shortage of funding at the time prevented the move from going ahead. Staff had to be made redundant, and a fundraising effort was launched to try to secure a future for the advice service.
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic the trustees and former staff of the charity decided to raise funds for an advice service on a working-from-home model. Grants were successfully gained from the City Bridge Trust (the City of London Corporation’s charity funder), Trust for London, and The London Community Foundation.
“We are very pleased to again provide a much needed housing and welfare advice service,” said Shafu Khanom, chair of trustees of Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association.
“We’d like to thank the City Bridge Trust, Trust for London, and The London Community Foundation for the grant funding, and the many public donations we have received which has enabled us to deliver this very important service for people in Camden and Westminster,” said Khanom.
Advice will now be available by telephone and email only, three days a week, and for speakers of English, Bengali, Sylheti, Urdu and Hindi.
The Fitzrovia Advice Service will be able to help with private and social housing problems, housing and council tax benefits, disability benefits, Universal Credit and Job Seekers Allowance, pensions and Pension Credit, Working and Child Tax Credits, fuel poverty; and help with benefit, passport and other forms.
“We are delighted that The Fitzrovia Advice Service will once again be able to provide vital advice to its communities,” said Manny Hothi, director of policy, at the Trust for London.
“So many people have been affected by the economic impacts of Covid-19 — as such, housing and welfare advice is important as ever — so it’s great to see The Fitzrovia Advice Service adopt new models of service provision, such as providing advice online, to allow communities to continue to access advice during the pandemic,” said Hothi.
“Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association does a fantastic job working to improve the lives of the people it serves,” said Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee.
“Our grant will help provide a vital service helping residents navigate the often complex issues around housing and benefits, to ensure they’re able to access the support they need,” he said.
For more information and contact details see: Fitzrovia Advice Service.