About

Navigate…Our Vision

To eliminate social isolation and financial hardship.

Navigate…Our Mission

To equip individuals and communities with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to overcome social isolation and financial hardship through high-quality, accessible advice services.

Navigate is a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), registered on the 13th February 2019 Charity number 1182020. The work of Navigate was founded in 2011 as a natural development of the work of Wessex Resolutions CIC.

Navigate is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (837950) for debt-related regulated activities. A member of AdviceUK. Most of our specialist advisers are members of the Institute of Money Advisers.

Navigate’s work benefits those individuals and families facing financial hardship and exclusion by reason of youth, age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage in Somerset and Devon.

I woke up for the first time in 7 years and had some money in my bank account – I cannot tell you how good it feels.

BGET Client

Meet The Navigate Team

CEO

Mel Allen

Mel works full time for Navigate and is driven by her desire to tackle social and financial exclusion. Mel worked for Wessex Resolutions CIC for 13 years, with 10 years as a senior manager for the organisation. Mel was instrumental in the development and implementation of money and debt advice services and has been responsible for all advice activity since its inception including; fundraising, building stakeholder relationships, managing and monitoring performance and developing new products and services in response to the growing needs of people facing social and/or financial exclusion.

Mel is supported by an experienced team of advisers and community development officers. Navigate are committed to delivering high quality, accessible services and all of us are extremely proud to be part of a team effecting positive change and achieving incredible, sometimes life changing, outcomes for the people we work with.

Client Liaison Officer

Jan

Jan has been a valued team member for over four years and works across all of our projects. Jan is an experienced money, debt and benefits adviser and is usually the first port of call for any new referrals into our service. Jan supports clients and referral partners in checking they are eligible for the service and providing immediate advice and support over the phone to ensure there are no emergencies that need immediate intervention. Jan is always willing to go the extra mile to support people and ensure they receive the best possible service!

Service Delivery Manager

Claire Summers

Claire has worked for Navigate for over six years; she was originally employed as a Money Advice Caseworker and has recently moved into the role of Service Delivery Manager. Claire has over ten years experience in money, benefits and debt advice and is also an Approved Intermediary which means that she can apply for Debt Relief Orders on behalf of our clients.  Claire is instrumental in ensuring that our services remain relevant and efficient and in supporting the team with their money advice casework. Claire leaves no stone unturned when working with our clients or the team to ensure the highest quality service and best outcomes for the people we work with!

Debt and Energy Adviser – Mid Devon

Abbie Doble

Abbie joined the team in November 2018 as a Debt and Energy Adviser for the BGET project. Abbie works part time and delivers money and debt advice across the Mid Devon district through home visits. Abbie’s background is in housing and homelessness and she has a wealth of experience to support clients with their financial difficulties. Abbie has a “can do” approach to her role and is driven by her desire to help people and effect positive change. Abbie is an Approved Intermediary which means she can guide eligible clients towards completion of Debt Relief Orders. Many of the clients Abbie works with experience very poor mental health which makes their ability to engage with us more difficult.  Abbie will customise her approach to ensure these clients are given every opportunity to work with us and she will often provide the money and debt advice alongside the Wellbeing Adviser from Mind who can build in extra time and reassurance to help the client succeed.

Debt and Energy Adviser - Mid Devon

Becky Little

Becky is currently working on the BGET project across Mid Devon as a Debt and Energy Adviser. She delivers debt and money advice to people who are struggling with mental health issues alongside their financial difficulties. Becky has recently become an Approved Intermediary which means that she is able to guide her eligible clients towards obtaining a Debt Relief Order.

She enjoys being an advocate for people who do not have a voice as well as encouraging them to take action for themselves. Becky has a very pragmatic approach and with a background in education, she thinks it is important for clients to identify their priorities and to work with the client to find a viable solution. She is enthusiastic about money saving and is a keen follower of Martin Lewis from the moneysavingexpert.com (she loves to find a bargain!).

Partnership and Social Policy Lead

Julie Matthews

Julie joined the team in October 2020 to work for Navigate in the rural areas of Torridge and west Devon within the Transitions project. Julie comes from a background in education, both in schools and adult education. Julie has worked within mental health settings, care homes, learning disability services and social care and has extensive experience of working across Devon in community-based projects, in both an employed and voluntary capacity.  

Julie enjoys networking and bringing people together to make positive things happen, and much of her work has been around this. She brings a lot of creative energy to the post, and enjoys thinking outside the box and approaching things in an original way. 

Money Advice Caseworker Somerset West and Sedgemoor

Maria Taylor

Maria joined Wiser Money in October 2018 as a Mental Health Caseworker working along side the money advisers.  Maria’s background is in the statutory sector, working with a variety of people of all ages with various physical and mental health issues.  She quickly became very inquisitive regarding the client work the money advisers were doing and joined us as a trainee money adviser. Maria has now become a confident Money Advice Caseworker working for our EDF project in the Somerset areas affected by the HPC, helping more people work towards their financial goals and deal with their problem debts. Maria has just completed the Certificate in Money Advice Practice. Maria builds a great rapport with her clients and she often spots other concerns that they might have otherwise kept hidden and will invest the extra time needed to organise specialist agencies and support for them.

Partnership and Social Policy Lead

Roxi Reeder

Roxi is the BGET Community Development Officer for the rural areas of mid and north Devon and west Somerset. Roxi is enthusiastic, driven and gregarious with professional passions for building resilience across communities and within individuals. She enjoys connecting people so that collaboration produces effective and efficient outcomes.

Roxi is a mum of 4 young children. She loves to be outdoors, dance, read and is actively involved in her local community in a voluntary capacity. She likes to challenge herself and strive to continually learn – she is currently undertaking an Award in Education and Training.

Torridge Rough Sleepers In Reach Project and Money Advice Caseworker

Gill Serpa

Gill originally worked in education as a teacher but felt she needed a change in vocation and moved into Criminal Law.  She found the greatest satisfaction in supporting her clients to find ways to improve their situation and increase their self-esteem helping them to reduce the risks of reoffending.

After moving to the West Country she was looking for a fresh opportunity to help people change their lives for the better. Gill started working for the Wisermoney Project in September 2020 as Trainee Money Advice Caseworker across Devon and Somerset. Since her time with Navigate, Gill has become a confident Money Advice Caseworker and through her professional development, Gill has been able to help clients deal with problem debts, budgeting, financial literacy and maximising income.

In May 2021, Gill became the in-reach worker for the Torridge Rough Sleepers Project. She uses her skills obtained through her previous job roles to help newly-housed clients gain the skills required to maintain their tenancy.  This wrap around service relies on Gill’s ability to develop trusting working relationships with her clients and finding creative ways to support them. Gill also works as the Transitions Client and Partnership Liaison Officer where she triages clients into the service and focuses on our social policy by highlighting how decision making can sometimes unfairly disadvantage some of our more vulnerable clients.

Community Health and Social Care Team Voluntary Representative

Martine Bryant

Martine is the Community Health and Social Care Team Voluntary Representative for the Complex Care Teams for Barnstaple, Torrington, Holsworthy, Bideford and Ilfracombe and joined us in November 2021. Previously working for Wessex Resolutions CIC for 14 years where she was instrumental in helping clients achieve a safe, warm and secure home, Martine can now bring all of her skills with her as she joins us at Navigate.  Martine is committed to supporting clients by providing information and guidance, identifying provision in their local communities and connecting people to services and partner agencies.

Money Advice Caseworker - West Devon and Torridge

Johanna Barnett

Jo is one of our newest members of our advice team and has joined us in 2021 as a Money Advice Caseworker in west Devon and Torridge for the Transitions project. Jo’s background includes working as a community support worker where she enabled people in the local community to live as independently as possible.  She has experience of dementia, complex illness and end of life care, all of which will be of enormous value to her new role.  Jo has always been drawn to helping others and she enjoys working with people to build their motivation, confidence and capability to help them achieve their personal goals

Debt and Energy Adviser - Mid Devon

Sheryl

Sheryl is the newest member of the BGET project team and will be working across mid Devon.  Sheryl will be supporting people with mental health needs to assist them in navigating their financial situation and difficulties, offering advice and guidance whilst empowering them to become confident in managing their finances.

Throughout her career, Sheryl has worked in supportive services and roles including general housing, tenancy sustainment and managing mental health support services.  She is extremely passionate about fairness and equality, growing up in the social care system has given her many tools and great insight into what works well and the struggles of navigating services for people. She enjoys being part of people’s journey to reach their goals and aspirations and is something she finds truly rewarding.

Navigate…Our Objectives:

1) Equip individuals and communities with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to prevent financial hardship.

2) Educate individuals and communities in financial literacy and capability, building skills, knowledge and confidence to manage money effectively.

3) Empower individuals and communities to tackle social isolation through community development activities.

4) Provide innovative, high-quality, accessible, responsive services which build and share learning to inform practice, encourage greater sector investment and to facilitate effective integrated working.

Our work is split across 3 areas:

Prevention

Navigate offers a comprehensive money and debt advice service. Our client’s needs are at the heart of our service.   Every person is an individual, with their own set of circumstances.  We understand this so we tailor our approach and deliver a service that suits our clients.  We want our clients to feel empowered and we deliver our service in a style that clients can relate to and engage with.

Our specialist advisers offer a wide range of 1:1 advice and support to individuals to help prevent financial hardship.  We deliver our advice mainly face-to-face, visiting our clients in their own homes.  Appointments can also be made at outreach locations across our project areas.

Financial hardship can affect anyone at anytime.  We can help people who are:

  • finding it difficult to pay their heating bills
  • struggling with debt
  • borrowing money for essential spending
  • worrying about their monthly repayments
  • wanting to prepare a flexible, realistic, budget
  • being made ill by money worries
  • coping with changes to their welfare benefits
  • facing financial difficulty and need help

To find out more about our preventative money and debt advice services please click here.

Education

Free, fun and interactive workshops delivered through a series of games.

Navigate has developed a highly interactive educational workshop called “Navigating the Money Maze”.  Participants are helped to ‘navigate’ their way through the money maze by using money-saving tips, and useful information. This helps participants to  manage their money more effectively and build some financial resilience for when things go wrong.

During the Navigate the Money Maze courses we:

  • Talk about money – budgeting, borrowing, banking, income, debt
  • Provide tips on how to make the most of your money
  • Talk about financial jargon and what it actually means

Courses are run throughout Devon and Somerset and are open to individuals, groups, clubs, carers, family members or anyone who finds it difficult to manage their money.

To find out more about our educational courses, please click here.

Community Development

Navigate work with a wide range of statutory and voluntary sector organisations.  We believe strongly that partnership-working adds depth and value to the activities and communities we work within. We want people to benefit from better financial resilience and reduce the stress and anxiety caused by social isolation. Engaging in social activity improves the well-being of the individual and wider community.

Navigate has a formal partnership with Encompass Southwest known as “Wiser£money”. The partnership was formed in 2012 and currently delivers a number of Financial Inclusion services across Devon and operates under a formal partnership agreement.

Encompass Southwest is a community-based charity that delivers advice and support services to people living in the rural districts of Devon who are experiencing crisis, hardship & homelessness. To find out more about Encompass please visit their website at:

https://bpag-encompass.org.uk/

Community Well-being events:  created with our partners to provide the opportunity for members of the public to:

  • talk about money and debt, to ask questions and get information
  • meet face-to-face with local services and community projects
  • have informal conversations about health and advice needs
  • get involved in a new activity

Our Stakeholder Forums are held every 6 months to review project progress and partnership working with local voluntary and statutory-sector organisations. These forums are well-attended and provide a valuable opportunity to network and share knowledge.  We facilitate discussions about the issues and challenges we face and how they impact on our clients and service-users.  We provide updates on any new projects we are starting and welcome feedback about existing projects.

To find out more about our Community Development work, please click here.

Navigate…Our Achievements….

we have:

Developed a strong community development programme focused on service providers and consumers and gained a reputation for high quality, dependable delivery.

Built and shared learning to inform practice, encouraged greater sector investment and facilitated effective, integrated working.

Created a network of advice and support by working in partnership, deep in the community, alongside third and statutory-sector organisations, complementing their services and equipping them to respond to and refer individuals with identified needs.

Provided tailored combinations of services which help clients address a range of financial issues.

Innovated services which meet the needs of vulnerable groups; offering face-to-face solutions to people in their own homes.

Continued to strive to improve our processes so we deliver the absolute best we can for our funders and our beneficiaries, without sacrificing the quality, impact and development of our service.

Delivered educational workshops, uniquely developed to equip clients with the tools, strategies, skills and knowledge to help manage their finances in a fun, interactive and engaging way.