New help centre opens in Newport

A brand-new help centre designed to give people easy access to information, advice and guidance services has opened at County Hall, Newport.

The council-run facility has combined with Citizens Advice and Age UK (Isle of Wight) to create a single streamlined hub, Isle Help.

The charity Hearing Loss will also use the centre from February when it starts a monthly clinic.

Around £214,000 has been invested by the council in the project, which is the start of its ambition to offer a ‘One Island’ integrated service covering health, council, emergency services and the voluntary sectors.

Isle of Wight County Hall

“This centre will be a great place for residents to find out information and receive advice from experts all under one roof, said Councillor Stuart Hutchinson, Cabinet member for resources.

“I’m delighted we have spent this money making the centre accessible and modern and a welcoming place for people to visit. It also really kick-starts our ambition to set up a One Island service in the future.

“The expertise of Age UK and Citizens Advice, in unison with our highly-trained council staff, will be formidable and will help people quickly and professionally.”

Paul Savill, Citizens Advice IW chief executive, added: “Our charity is really pleased to be part of the new advice centre and we are looking forward to providing our service in a bright new space that will be so much better for volunteers, staff and public alike.”

The new help centre

Jo Dare, CEO of Age UK Isle of Wight, added: “We are always listening to the comments and input of older and vulnerable people in our communities, and one of the frustrations felt by many was the absence of joined-up working.

“We have been striving towards a practice which means that individuals need only tell their story once.

“The new Isle Help will provide exactly that; more collaborative working and a more streamlined, personalised service for the client.”

The centre in the council’s ground floor reception area now boasts new seating, a confidential meeting pod, self-service computer, terminals for access to a range of council services, meetings rooms and pre-programmed phones with numbers for government agencies.

Island companies were used throughout the refurbishment including Mountjoy, Wight Vending and Signpost Express.