A NORTH Ayrshire's housing, welfare and debt advice charity has won triple accreditation from quality assurance chiefs.

The news comes at one of the Ardrossan-based CHAP charity's busiest times of the year, delighted the team, who said they were "particularly proud".

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (SNSIAP) accreditation is a rigorous process, carried out by the Scottish Legal Aid Board on behalf of the Scottish Government.

It recognises and encourages a culture of continuous improvement in organisations providing advice to members of the public.

It particularly recognises services which are client-orientated and accurate.

CHAP - the Community Housing Advocacy Project - operates from a base in the Michael Lynch Centre in Ardrossan's Princes Street and from five, dedicated community hubs within Whitlees Community Centre, Ardeer Community Centre, the Ayrshire Community Trust (TACT) offices in Saltcoats, Kilwinning Sports Club and the Bridgend Community Centre in Kilbirnie.

All CHAP’s services and advice are provided free and its aims include the alleviation of health and social issues which go along with debt; including, in the most serious of cases, homelessness and family breakup.

Debbie Alexander, CHAP's chief executive, said: “This accreditation is a huge accolade for our dedicated staff members, who really care about the people we see and the complex issues they face.

“Debt is often about much more than money, so we take a holistic approach with our clients to ensure they have the best possible chance of moving on with their lives and staying positively engaged with the community.

"No one should ever forget that money worries can emerge for many different reasons and can affect anyone.”

The charity is also working closely with North Ayrshire Council to deliver short ‘Multiply’ courses. These free sessions aim to help people with ‘financial literacy’ and understanding of how best to manage money; to budget and get best value, even if on a limited income.   

North Ayrshire Council leader Marie Burns said: “Huge congratulations to CHAP on winning such prestigious accreditation.

"We know how high the bar is set for providers of financial advice and are glad to partner with CHAP on a range of projects to support people with the ongoing challenges of cost of living and debt-management.”  

The recent accreditation won by CHAP is at the highest level, Type 3, for its representation and advocacy services across housing, welfare and benefits plus money / debt advice.  

CHAP also recently announced its accreditation as a Living Wage employer. 

If you are in need of help and advice, or would like to speak to CHAP about donating or volunteering, please do not hesitate to get in touch at www.chap.org.uk.