Ask Us was a five year project (2016-21) funded by The National Community Lottery Fund (TNCLF) bringing three organisations - Bristol Law Centre, Bristol Citizens Advice and 1625 Independent People - together to improve access to advice for young people in hardship crisis.   

The project operated through a combination of advice and support delivery, capacity building for organisations and user involvement with the aim of leaving a legacy of what was learned over the course of the project. The aims of the project were broadly to:

  • Promote learning for support agencies from advice agencies on good practice in giving information to the young people they support. 
  • Promote learning for advice agencies from support agencies on how to make their services more accessible to young people.  

The contents of these toolkits have been developed through our experience of helping young people to navigate the busy and complex worlds of advice, information and support. We have taken feedback from the young people, support workers, advice workers and have brought emergent themes together. As is often the case in learning - we have often learned most when things have not gone well. 

The ideas we propose are good practice in the areas of information giving and advising young people. We are aware that the barriers to doing some of these things in terms of time and capacity will not magically be swept away by using a toolkit. We hope that you are able to find good ideas to use when you are able to and good principles to apply to staff and volunteer induction and training.

Toolkit sections





Bristol Law Centre

Bristol Law Centre is a charity providing free legal advice, casework and representation in court within these areas of social welfare law:-

  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Housing & homelessness
  • Immigration & asylum
  • Mental Health
  • Public Law
  • Welfare Benefits

We help thousands of  people a year in Bristol and the surrounding region access the justice system thanks to our funders, supporters and committed staff and volunteers. 

Our work addresses inequality, prevents deepening poverty and enables people to be heard and have a say in their lives. “at last someone listened to me….I couldn’t have done it without you”.

Our objectives: 

  • Securing justice through legal advice and representation
  • Influencing public policy
  • Empowering local communities to better exercise their rights


Citizens Advice Bristol

We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Citizens Advice, we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.  Our network of charities offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free.  When we say we’re for everyone, we mean it. People rely on us because we’re independent and totally impartial.

Our aim is to empower our clients by giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem. 

We are proud to say that our service is:


The advice we offer is always completely free of charge. We would never want cost, or pressure to donate, to be a barrier to anyone in Bristol who needs advice.


We take your confidentiality seriously. That means we won’t tell anyone that you came in to see us or what you came in to see us about unless you give us clear permission to do so.


Although we receive some government funding we are an independent organisation. That means we have our own aims and principles and we act according to them.


This means we don’t have favourites but are equally committed to each person who comes to us for advice, no matter who they are or what problem they face.


About 1625 independent people

Our services support young people to achieve their goals and aspirations through using positive trusting relationships as the primary tool for change in their lives.

1625 Independent People (1625ip) have been supporting vulnerable young people for over 30 years across the West of England. We are the South West’s largest provider of accommodation, advice and support to vulnerable young people who are leaving care, have been or are at risk of becoming homeless, are in trouble with the law or are young parents. Our specialist support ranges from preventative services through to supported housing, EET support and specialist support for young people leaving custody, care leavers and Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children.

Our Vision:

“A world where all young people have a safe place and trusted adults to turn to and can access the opportunities they need”

Our Mission:

“To prevent homelessness, keep young people safe and support them to be the best they can be”.

Our overarching objective is to keep young people at the heart of what we do. We are tireless in our partnership work across sectors to make sure young people have a voice and get the support and opportunities they need and deserve.

We don’t reboot young people’s lives…
we help young people to reboot their own lives

Young people take the lead in their own lives by working with their keyworker in the design of their own support, by co-designing, delivering and evaluating our projects and by influencing policy and practice.

Many of the young people we support have experienced trauma and disrupted attachments, and as a result often struggle to trust, manage behaviours and regulate emotions. All services are underpinned by 1625ip’s Organisational Framework for Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE). Our PIE framework supports young people to move away from the effects of damaging events, so they can realise their potential. Colleagues and volunteers use trusting relationships as the primary tool for change, providing a “secure base” from which YP can develop, integrating strengths-based psychological approaches.



Ask Us – Understanding the Advice Needs of Young People in Bristol



Case Study - Tamai



Case Study - Tatiana