Working in Partnership to deliver equality advice on the frontline: Strabane and Derry/Londonderry advisers received certificates today
Citizens Advice and the Equality Commission have developed a partnership to provide a network of qualified advisors who can identify possible cases of discrimination and provide a direct referral for free legal advice from the Commission.
Presenting the certificates to North West advisers who have completed the new Open College Network Level 4 qualification, Una Wilson of the Equality Commission said, “The Commission is proud and delighted to be part of this new initiative which we hope will further extend the reach of our services and help us to deliver effectively for all those individuals who may have suffered discrimination.”
Speaking from the Equality Commission, Evelyn Collins CBE, Chief Executive, said, “I would like to congratulate all of those who have worked so hard to achieve this new qualification. I cannot underestimate the role of the CAB in this work – they have worked with us to develop and deliver the training and are now a key part of this advisory network. I would like to pay tribute to the important work that they do and to all of their advisors.
“By working in partnership we hope we can provide more avenues to deliver equality advice on the frontline to the people who need it.”
Along with CAB offices the network includes advisors from NIAMH (NI Association for Mental Health) and the Chinese Welfare Association. The advisors will be able to help individuals consider if there is a discrimination element to their concern and outline the legal process involved in taking a case. The network will also be able to directly refer individuals to the Commission’s legal team which can provide free legal advice.
Derek Alcorn, Chief Executive of Citizen Advice NI said, “CAB advisors right across Northern Ireland have benefited from this training. It will enable our advisors to identify cases of discrimination and, where appropriate, direct our clients to the Equality Commission. Many people contacting us are not aware of their rights in relation to equality issues. This training will enhance our ability to provide this information and to recommend procedures for addressing instances of discrimination.”
Citizen Advice Bureau offices involved in the equality and discrimination training included Strabane, Derry/Londonderry, Craigavon, Portadown, Lurgan, Dungannon, Holywood, Newtownards, West Belfast, Ballymena and Antrim.
L-R above: Marie Kirk, Ronan Moyne, Jackie Gallagher, Raymond Cassidy
L-R above: Louisa McKee, Training Manager, Citizens Advice, David Mitchell, Legal Support Officer, Citizens Advice, Gayle Wilkinson, Equality Commission, Una Wilson, Equality Commission