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Community award judges hooked by unique shop which gives debt a battering

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Community award judges hooked by unique shop which gives debt a battering

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Published by kerri smith for Wellingborough Homes in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Communities

A groundbreaking help and advice service in Wellingborough which stops people drowning in debt worries has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The FISH Shop, based in Cambridge Street in the town centre, helps local people by providing free advice and support relating to debt, benefits, employment, training, health and well-being – in a friendly, welcoming setting where people need to tell their story only once.

Spearheaded by Wellingborough Homes, which provides a variety of housing and support services, the shop has helped hundreds of people since it opened in December 2011.

Now the FISH Shop has been shortlisted in the “Building Futures” category for the East Midlands in the National Housing Federation’s Community Impact Awards.

The Building Futures category recognises initiatives which tackle worklessness and financial exclusion, provide opportunities to gain skills and improve employment prospects, and unlock the potential of local residents.

The FISH Shop has helped people tackle debt, find work, enrol on training courses, claim benefits, deal with neighbour disputes, sort out family problems, flee domestic abuse and lead healthier lifestyles.

The partnership includes Wellingborough Homes, the Community Law Service, JobCentre Plus, Connexions Northamptonshire, The Mallows Company, Women’s Aid, Family Support Link, NHS health trainers and Heartlands Mediation.

Dave Willis, Chief Executive of Wellingborough Homes, said: “The FISH Shop is doing fantastic work to improve the lives of local people and unlock their full potential.

“It has already helped hundreds of Wellingborough residents and is going from strength to strength.

“So we are delighted that its work and achievements have been recognised in this way, by being shortlisted in such prestigious national awards. We also hope this will highlight how, by working together, partner organisations can transform people’s lives and make a real difference to the communities they serve.”

A spokesman for the Community Impact Awards said: “We had over 180 entries and have been thrilled by the response.

“With so many fantastic entries, it proved a difficult task for our tenant judging panels who helped decide the shortlist.”

The awards attracted over 180 entries. Regional winners will be announced on 22nd October at a ceremony at Moor Hall Hotel in Sutton Coldfield, and the national winners will be revealed in early 2013.

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