New CEO Tracy Dighton welcomes Peter Chowney to the Bureau

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Jan 152016

Jan 15            TD & PC Jan 16


On Tuesday 12 January, Tracy met with Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council, at a Citizens Advice 1066 workers meeting. Tracy and Peter addressed the staff and volunteers and then answered questions.

Tracy, who has been appointed as new Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Advice 1066 said:

I am delighted to begin my work at Citizens Advice 1066. It was great to meet Peter and I look forward to working with him and Hastings Borough Council to support our clients.

Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council said:

I was very pleased to be able to welcome Tracy to her new job in Hastings. I’m sure she’ll be a very effective leader for the CAB at a time when they’re under so much pressure to provide support and advice for the more vulnerable members of our community.  With big cuts in government funding, it’s going to be a difficult time ahead for local authorities and the non-statutory sector, it was good to meet and talk to the CAB advisers to find what their concerns are, and what they think our priorities should be.

TD & PC Jan 16 1

Marc Turczanski, Chair of The Board of Trustees, Citizens Advice 1066 said:

On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate Tracy on her appointment. Tracy has a proven track-record for transforming strategy into results in public and voluntary sector settings.

Citizens Advice 1066, together with BHT and HARC, work out of The Advice and Community Hub at Renaissance House, London Road, St. Leonards. The Advice and Community Hub is an integrated advice centre providing free, confidential and quality assured advice on a full range of topics, including debt, welfare benefits, housing, employment, immigration and relationships. The Hub is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am and 4:30pm, and on Tuesday and Thursday between 9am and 12:30pm. You can contact us on 01424 721458. More information on our full range of services can be found at, or you can follow us on facebook ( and twitter ( and

 Posted by at 11:24 am
Aug 112015

Aug 7

New Mortgage Support Service for Homeowners Worried About Meeting Their Mortgage Costs or Already Falling Into Arrears

BHT Hastings Advice Centre has set up a new free and confidential Mortgage Support Service. The service is available to homeowners who are worried about meeting their mortgage costs or are already falling into mortgage arrears. The new service is being provided at a time of increased economic uncertainty, benefit cuts and an anticipated rise in interest rates. The new service will be provided from The Advice and Community Hub, London Road, St. Leonards.

BHT’s qualified and experienced staff will liaise directly with mortgage lenders, provide financial health checks – looking at budgeting and benefit entitlements, and provide support, information, advocacy and guidance. The service will provide practical help and support for people who have already fallen into mortgage arrears, and also just as importantly, provide advice and guidance for people who have concerns about meeting their current and future mortgage costs. Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a means-tested benefit currently claimed by 161,000 people. Homeowners entitled to SMI can get help with monthly payments on a mortgage worth up to £200,000. On 6 July 2015 the SMI rate dropped from 3.63% to 3.12%, and on a £150,000 25 year mortgage the amount that can be claimed each month will fall by over £60. This could result in families breaching court orders and facing eviction.

Hastings is a national and regional hotspot for repossessions. According to the latest figures, Hastings is ranked 6th in the whole of the South East for home repossessions, and there are currently over 400 local families claiming SMI. Jo Wilson, Manager at BHT Hastings Advice Service said “This brand new service is as much about helping people already in financial difficulty as it is about providing support and information to help prevent others from ending up in similar situations. We really do want to work with people and the mortgage lenders, to reduce the number of home repossessions and to help people plan and budget for their futures, to help prevent families from experiencing the devastating effects of losing their home.

BHT is providing the Mortgage Support Service from The Advice & Community Hub, Renaissance House, London Road, St. Leonards. Call us on 01424 452613 or email

 Posted by at 3:01 pm
Jun 162015


June 16 is Sussex Day, and the following are some of the first few lines of the Sussex Charter. We have then added a few of our own, see if you can work out which ones…..
“For all the people of the ancient kingdom of Sussex!
Let it be known: the 16 June of each and every year shall be known as Sussex Day.
Sussex day shall be celebrated according to the rites and traditions of Sussex.
Let it be known, the people of Sussex will undertake responsibility for the general well being of our neighbours.
Let it be known that the people of Sussex shall be entitled to free advice and information from The Advice & Community Hub, St. Leonards
Let it be known that this free advice will be provided by Citizens Advice, HARC and BHT
Let it be known that this free advice extends to debt, employment, benefits and housing.
Let it be known the people of Sussex are ably supported by a dedicated mix of staff and volunteers at The Hub
Let it be known that last year over 10,000 people in Sussex sought help from The Advice & Community Hub
Let it be known that The Advice & Community Hub will continue to provide support to those most in need, free of charge on this Sussex Day, June 16 2015, and from this day forward (between 9:00 and 16:30 Mon-Fri at Renaissance House, London Road, St. Leonards, or you can call us on 01424 721458, or visit us at”

 Posted by at 6:33 am
Jun 102015

June 9

We have been advised of Dina’s funeral arrangements via her family.

Dina’s funeral will be on Friday 12 June. It will begin at the Hastings Crematorium, The Ridge, TN34 2AE

The funeral will begin at 1pm.

The service and burial will end at 2.30pm and then there is an “after party”
[Note: Dina’s sons have stressed that these are Dina’s words not theirs].
The “after party” will be at the Arthur Easton Centre at 3pm. The address is 25 Upper Maze Hill ST Leonards TN38 0LB. (in the grounds of St Michaels Hospice.)

Their final point was….”No obligation to be there but all welcome. Any donations gratefully to go to St Michaels Hospice”.

 Posted by at 4:09 pm
Jun 032015

June 3

It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that following a short but bravely fought illness Dina Christodoulou, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice 1066 passed away on 30th May.

Dina was part of a large, loving family and whilst they are privately grieving for Dina they have asked if we can let others know of her sad passing.

Dina worked tirelessly for Citizens Advice 1066 for over 20 years to ensure that a free, trusted and quality advice service be available to the people and communities of Hastings and St Leonards.

Dina fought for the aims and principles of the charity, crusading for people’s rights, for communities, for equality and for funding. Dina never stopped fighting and gave much of her own time to the causes she believed in, including as a HARC trustee, making society a fairer place for all.

Dina was respected for her honesty, integrity, determination, sense of humour and passion for what she believed in.

Dina will be profoundly missed by friends and colleagues at Citizens Advice 1066, all at the Advice and Community Hub and by everyone who knew her.

Not only has Hastings and St Leonards lost a true champion of social justice we have lost a respected colleague, a Chief Executive and above all a dear friend.

Dina’s immediate family asked The Advice & Community Hub to publish this sad news and further announcements will be made once discussed and agreed with Dina’s family.


 Posted by at 9:10 am
May 132015

May 12


Apologies for the lack of updates, we’re constantly very busy and have been updating our facebook and twitter pages but have neglected this website. Well no more. We will be using this page to update you on events, activities, projects and news that the Advice & Community Hub is involved in. If you have any news or events you would like us to promote, please contact

 Posted by at 12:21 pm

New Years Resolutions

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Jan 272015

Jan 26New Year Resolutions

2015 will see the Advice & Community Hub start its third year in residence at Renaissance House, and this year heralds a difficult time for all three advice services. Funding to advice services has been reduced year on year for the last three years, at the same time as pressure and demand for our services has increased. Both these situations are a direct result of the current economic climate.

We are continually striving to reduce our costs, improve efficiencies whilst responding to an ever increasing demand on our services and adapting to the needs of our clients.

2015 will see a real push to develop and improve our range and reach of services, to increase volunteers and donations, and to develop Renaissance House as a true Advice & Community Hub. The first part of this development has been to update our website to the one you are looking at now. If you have any comments on our site, positive or constructive, please do get in touch and let us know.

 Posted by at 4:23 pm

1000 Days

 Campaigns, Hub Numbers, News  Comments Off on 1000 Days
Jan 272015

Dec 16   1000 Days

The Advice and Community Hub has celebrated their doors being open for 1000 days this week.

 We marked the occasion by holding an event that was attended by the Leader of Hastings Borough Council, Jeremy Birch, Chief Inspector Paul Phelps and a mix of local councillors from Hastings & Rother, and other organisations as well as staff and board members from each of the organisations.

Since the Hub opened in March 2011 it has welcomed 15,000 visitors from Hastings and Rother area who are looking for advice on a range of issues such as housing, welfare and debt.

In the 1000 days of the Hub homelessness has been prevented or housing conditions improved for 974 people, clients have been helped with over £16,500,000 of debt, 1,086 clients have been represented at benefit appeals with a 95% success rate and over 500 people have gained at least one personal learning goal such as learning to read or write.

Jo Wilson, BHT Hastings Advice Manager said: “Our housing advice and court duty services have prevented homelessness in over 1,000 cases in the 1,000 days we have been at the Hub.

“The annual cost to the state of each homeless person is £25,000 which means our efforts have saved in excess of £25,000,000.

“We have calculated that over the 1,000 days that we have been open at the Hub, all three organisations have a joint value of over £50,000,000 through savings to the state, increased incomes for clients, the management of debt and attracting funding into the local economy. “

HARC 1000 days event (20 of 37)

 Councillor and Leader of Hastings Borough Council, Jeremy Birch talking at the event

Cllr Jeremy Birch, Leader of Hastings Borough Council said: “The Hub is the first combined advice hub in the country bringing together housing and benefits advice and general advice all together in the same building, a real benefit for local people. The council is really pleased to support this innovative approach and to provide significant grant assistance. We congratulate the Hub on its first 1,000 days and look forward to many more.”


 Sarah Owen cutting the cake with Barry Cooper, Business Development Co-ordinator at the Hub.

Sarah Owen, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings & Rye said: “It was great to join the 1000th day celebrations of the Hub.

“It is clear to see that their services are needed more than ever before.  The recent chaos over the way benefits are paid, sanctions and housing problems all make the advice from HARC, CAB and BHT Sussex an increasingly vital lifeline to help some of the most vulnerable parts of our community.”


 Posted by at 11:22 am