Phoenix Enterprise Centre, Phoenix House, 3 - 5 Jacktrees Road, Cleator Moor, Cumbria, CA25 5BD | Tel: 01946 813 555

Citizens Advice Copeland

A chance to learn more about the tenants who have made Phoenix Enterprise Centre the base for their business.

Citizens Advice Copeland made the move to Phoenix Enterprise Centre in March 2023. Their team consists of employed staff and volunteers who deliver advice over the phone and see people at their Phoenix house offices. With demand being very high they recommend making contact via email or with a phone call initially.

Staff and volunteers from Citizens Advice Copeland based at Phoenix House

Q1 – What is the organisational structure for the company?

We have a board of 7 trustees who oversee the day-to-day governance and support the Chief Officer in managing the organisation. We have a senior management team, advice officers, a business development team and our amazing volunteers.

Q2. Have you seen any significant changes to how you operate to meet the demands of the changing market?

We now deliver more advice by telephone. Pre Covid the majority of our advice was delivered face to face and via drop-in sessions. The pandemic changed how we delivered our service and we have found that more people want to have initial contact with us by telephone. Following initial contact and assessment by a trained adviser we will identify the most appropriate way to support the client. This could be further telephone advice, a home visit or a face-to-face appointment.

Q3. What is the demand for the services in Copeland like versus the rest of the country?

Demand for our services remains high in Copeland and across the country. In 2022/23 our service in Copeland supported 1,928 people with over 16,702 different issues. We secured income of £2.9 million and dealt with debts of £1.7 million. We do follow some of the national trends, for example, our highest demand for benefits support is assistance with Personal Independence Payments which we are also seeing locally. We are also seeing an increase in support with people coming to us when they have hit crisis point. This is when bailiffs are at the door, they have run out of food or are unable to heat or light their property. This alongside the number of people who approach us with negative budgets reflects the national advice trends.

Q4. What has been CAC’s most effective campaign? When? Why?

We deliver campaigns throughout the year which focus on raising awareness and providing information within the heart of communities. We use a range of ways to do this including social media, local press, emails, our website and face-to-face community events. This year we have raised awareness of scams, illegal money lending and gambling harms. Working alongside the advice services we offer we hope that these campaigns will inform people of their rights, how to report problems they may have and work towards our aim of offering preventative advice to avoid problems arising in the future.

Q5. Do you actively collaborate with other organisations?

We are lucky to be able to collaborate with some amazing organisations that work and deliver services throughout West Cumbria. We work in partnership with Whitehaven, Egremont and District Credit Union on a Financial Inclusion Project and PEC supporting the delivery of advice and guidance services. We have been funded by Transforming West Cumbria to work in partnership with Citizens Advice Allerdale to deliver financial well-being services across West Cumbria. We attend many different partnership meetings which gives us the opportunity to find out about and work with different groups and organisations. These include Cumberland Council’s Thriving Community Group and the Skills and Enterprise programme. Working in partnership helps us deal with a client’s problem holistically ensuring that all issues are dealt with and the right support is put in place to meet individual needs.

Q6. Are the qualifications for staff and volunteers different?

Our staff and volunteers will all undertake the same mandatory training. This will cover an introduction to the organisation, GDPR, our aims and principles, safeguarding and equity, diversity and inclusion. We will train all staff and volunteers on how to record cases and how to use our information system. We have core subject areas that we cover including benefits, debt, housing and energy. Paid staff can then complete further training depending on their specialist subject area. For example, in our debt team, we have a trained Debt Relief Order Intermediary who has also completed a Certificate in Money Advice Practice with the Institute of Money Advisers.

Q7. When did CAC relocate to Cleator Moor and why was Phoenix Enterprise Centre chosen as the base for the organisation?

We relocated to Cleator Moor in March 2023 following the ending of the lease we had on a building in Whitehaven. PEC offered us everything we needed. Comfortable, modern and well-maintained office space which is inviting and comfortable for staff and volunteers to work in. The PEC team has been fantastic making us feel really welcome and supporting us with any needs we have such as hiring extra space for meetings. Shelley Hewitson, Chief Officer

Our Funders

Copyright © Phoenix Enterprise Centre 2024. All rights reserved.

Phoenix Enterprise Centre, Phoenix House, 3-5 Jacktrees Road, Cleator Moor, Cumbria, CA25 5BD - Tel: 01946 813 555

Phoenix Enterprise Centre CIC Ltd. Company registration number 01897176