Benefit advice sessions move to Acomb Explore Library

The York Council has announced that residents will be able to receive benefits advice and support at Acomb Explore Library Learning Centre from Monday 6 June.
Cllr Sue Hunter, Cllr Sheena Jackson and Cllr Andrew Waller outside the Acomb Explore Library

Cllr Sue Hunter, Cllr Sheena Jackson and Cllr Andrew Waller outside the Acomb Explore Library

The benefits advice service is moving from the Gateway Centre to Acomb Explore Library Learning Centre on Monday 6 June as part of work to make it easier for residents to access benefits advice.

The Council in 2010 announced plans to make the library a local information and advice hub but the idea was shelved by the Labour controlled Council when it closed the Acomb Housing Office in 2012.

Still it goes to show that good ideas will always rise to the surface.

Residents will be able to drop-in at the weekly sessions between 9am and 3pm (closed between 12.30pm and 1pm) where a trained adviser will be on hand to support residents.

In addition to the weekly sessions, all Explore Library Learning Centre staff will be trained to help residents access welfare benefits information in the coming months. This change means residents will be able to access support and signposting to the best available services from trained staff whilst also continuing to access the internet for free in Explores across the city.

In a media release the Council also says that “the changes come ahead of the upcoming launch of a new online Customer Relationship Management system and personal council accounts for residents ‘My Account’, a smart and responsive online service which will enable residents to access council services anytime anywhere. The system will also provide webchat meaning residents across the city will have access to more advice and support online on a range of areas, including benefits”.

The much promised electronic “My Account” system has been “launched” on 4 separate occasions over the last two years. We think that the Council would be wise to finish refining and testing the new system before becoming too bullish about it in public statements.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “We are committed to ensuring residents can access support and advice on issues such as benefits. The weekly drop-in sessions allow local residents to speak face-to-face with a trained adviser and get the information they need.

“As well as these sessions continuing in the new location of Acomb Explore Library Learning Centre, Explore staff across the city are also being trained to help support and signpost people in respect of welfare benefits, providing greater support for residents across York.”

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