Community Advice is an advice, information and support service based in Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court. It is free to use and it is completely independent from the judicial process.
It acts as a signposting and referral service, putting people in touch with organisations and agencies that can provide them with support. It provides practical and emotional support to people who are experiencing challenge or adversity. Community Advice works in partnership with the people that use its services, to enable those that feel powerless to feel powerful.
"Since I came into the community advice centre last year and up until now my life is in such a much better place - a hundred times better"
What does Community Advice help with?
Community Advice is able to provide support with a number of areas including housing; benefits; debt; employment and training; addiction; mental health; and domestic violence.
Please note that we are unable to provide legal advice ourselves, but we do put people in touch with organisations that provide legal advice.
Who does Community Advice help?
This service is for people appearing at court (e.g. defendant, victim or witness), or for those supporting people at court (e.g. friends, families, carers). Community Advice assists people in accessing both short and long term support.
Community Advice is based in the London borough of Islington and offers a service that is non-borough specific. This means that it can connect people to a wide range of support.
Community Advice has strong links and works collaboratively with the services and organisations based within the Courts. These include solicitors, the Witness Service, Probation, Court Clerks, Liaison & Diversion and Serco Custodial Service.
How can I get support?
People can access the service either via self-referral or direct referral. You can contact Community Advice on:
"I was in a very horrible place...when you you're on your loss and need someone to give you just that push... that's what they did."
What’s the history of the service?
Community Advice was set up in 2014, as a result of local Magistrates working with the Centre for Justice Innovation. The idea for the service came out of the Newark Community Solutions model, which is run by the Centre for Justice Innovation’s sister charity in New York.
How many people has the service helped?
To date, the service has supported over 2,000 people, assisting them in accessing appropriate support services to address their needs.
Want to find out more?
A short briefing paper about the service is available here and a more detailed case study is available on our map of innovation.
Expanding the community advice model
The Centre for Justice Innovation has been awarded funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation to support the development and implementation of the community advice model in three new sites across England and Wales.
We want to identify three local areas that recognise the need for early intervention to reduce re-offending and who are interested in developing their own cost-effective, volunteer-led advice service for people committing low-level offences.
Please note that we are unable to provide monetary support to sites, therefore interested parties will need to be able to identify their own sources of local funding. For more information, please click here.
This report seeks to inform the development of appropriate advice and support services through qualitative research with people in low level contact with the justice system who have sought help for social welfare needs.