Local Advice Service passes with flying colours
Staff at North Kensington charity Hodan Somali Community are celebrating after being granted the Advice Quality Standard (AQS), a nationally recognised quality mark for organisations providing free, independent advice to members of the public.
Hodan’s director, Mohamed Farah, said, ‘We are so pleased to have been awarded the AQS as it shows the people using our drop-in Advice and Information service in Ladbroke Grove, as well as those funding our service, that we are working to the best possible professional standards. The team of staff and volunteers have worked very hard to achieve the AQS and the Management Committee will be making sure that they maintain these high standards over the course of the year.’
The AQS is awarded by the national umbrella group, the Advice Services Alliance. The ASA Director Lindsey Poole said: ‘The AQS is a tough benchmark to achieve, particularly in challenging times for the voluntary sector and our clients and we offer our congratulations to Hodan for so clearly making the grade.’
Hodan will proudly display the AQS logo, joining the community of over 650 AQS holders across the country.
A grateful client spoke of the difference that Hodan’s employability advice service had made for them: “Without Hodan, life would have been very difficult. My biggest milestone in my life at UK happened when I joined Hodan’s employment support project and started with enrolling ESOL and IT class. This has changed my life big times and I can now write and read better, my IT has improved, I can send emails and do job search. Hodan helped me get a job. I’m now confident and happy about life. I’m in charge of my income and don’t rely on state benefit. Now I’m a good role model for my children and they see me happy and supportive.”
Hodan Somali Community, established in 2006 is based at Canalside House, Ladbroke Grove. The charity runs a free Advice and Information drop-in service on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, advising clients on a range of issues including welfare benefits, housing problems, education and employment. It also offers a twice-weekly ‘Women’s Wellbeing Club’ with free Zumba classes, refreshments and a social space (held at Canalside House on Wednesdays and White City Community Centre on Fridays). It also offers outreach & befriending services for elders and other vulnerable members of the community and occasional excursions for families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.