Community Advice

Community advice provides advice and support offer to people using Highbury Corner Magistrates Court

Community advice works with offenders on a voluntary basis to:

  • Help them find out about and access long-term support services such as alcohol treatment, community mental health services or supported housing

  • Provide immediate help with practical issues such as benefit claims or outstanding fines, and offer emotional support.

The  service has worked with more 1,250 people, helping them to tackle problems such as housing, debt and benefits. In its first year, two thirds of people contacted after six months reported that their issues had been resolved.

The team works tirelessly every day to identify people, understand what they need, and get them the right help. They have made 2,000 referrals to services in the community, and kept in touch with 400 people for six months to ensure they can follow up on progress and check what else people need to help keep them away from offending.

People like Adam, who was homeless, drug dependent, and suffering from both mental and physical health problems. The team helped him to secure temporary accommodation and stop taking drugs. Or others such as George, who they helped to manage his debts accentuated by his court fines, and avoid bailiffs removing all his possessions.

Such results wouldn’t be possible without the excellent joint work with partner organisations in the community, but a court hearing provides a real opportunity to engage people at a crisis point about what they need and help them find appropriate support.

The service model was devised by local Magistrates working with the Centre for Justice Innovation and both managed to secure funding from a Charitable source to start the service.