Advice and Assistance

for those released from custody, care leavers, former members of the regular armed forces, and victims of domestic abuse, those leaving hospital, those with a mental illness or impairment and those with a substance misuse


Prison Leavers

There are organisations that can provide support for people leaving prison please see the government website for more information. Shelter also offer further advice for prisoners and ex-offenders here.

NACRO offer advice on release from prison and you can contact their Resettlement Advice Service on 0300 123 1999.

If you are a prisoner, on remand or on release, there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available to you and your family. Turn2us have further information on this topic.


Care Leavers

The County Council offers advice and support to young people leaving care up to the age of 25. There are 4 Leaving and Aftercare Teams across Essex. They offer a service to the whole of the County and work from Colchester, Chelmsford, Harlow and Rochford.

Y.E.S (Youth Enquiry Service) – 01206 710771 provides a confidential, non-judgmental and informal service for young people between the ages of 11 and 25 within Colchester and Tendring, who are facing difficulties in their lives. If you are facing homelessness and need housing advice, if you are having family problems, if you are feeling low, depressed or suicidal, if you need advice about debts or would like to check you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to, if you are teenager and are pregnant, if you are a young family who needs support, or if you need a CV, training or work advice, then Y.E.S. can help you.


Veteran Support

Veterans’ Gateway is the first point of contact for veterans seeking support This service is for veterans and their families to connect with the help, advice and support they need from a network of organisations. The team of advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and many are veterans themselves. Tel: 0808 8021212

The Army Welfare Service’s remit includes Regular Soldiers, their families and communities, the Army Reserve and Reservists and, in certain circumstances, Veterans, other Services and MoD civilians serving overseas. For more information and contact details please visit the website.

SSAFA – Support for the armed forces in Essex. Helps veterans, service personnel and their families, in the local community. Helpline: 0800 731 4880

The Royal British Legion, have a pop in advice and information Centre at 133 High Street, Colchester CO1 1SP and is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday offering service personnel and veterans to get practical help and advice.


Victims of Domestic Abuse

If you are being frightened, hurt or abused by a partner or a family member, please consider calling one of the following telephone numbers:

  • In an emergency, call 999
  • Compass: 0330 333 7444 – this phone number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls to this number are free from both landlines and mobile phones
  • Next Chapter: 01206 500585 – weekdays 8am-5pm
  • Domestic Abuse Support Services: 03301 025811 – this phone number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

See our page dedicated to domestic abuse for further advice.


Where you can go for advice and support

Colchester Sanctuary Scheme – this scheme makes it possible for you to remain in your own home and feel safer. The scheme enhances a person’s property with physical security measures which helps you to feel safe. This can range from basic additional security to a property such as windows, door locks and external lighting up to (and only in suitable situations) the creation of a sanctuary room. This scheme may be an option for any high risk or repeat victim of domestic abuse. It covers those residents living in Colchester Borough only; this includes Housing Association Tenants, privately rented or privately owned properties. This is an option for anyone who is threatened with homelessness and would like to attempt to remain in their current home. Other support services below can also assist with this. For further information on this scheme please contact Jane Crawford on 03300 538014 or via email:

  • Supportline offers confidential emotional support on a range of issues
  • Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge are a local support and information service
  • Women’s aid gives independent advice on how to cope with domestic violence
  • Refuge helps women and children who are experiencing domestic violence
  • Men’s advice line provides advice and support for men in abusive relationships
  • Victim support can offer help if you have been affected by a crime

Those leaving hospital

The NHS website has information regarding the NHS services on being discharged from hospital and your care after discharge.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness prior to discharge the hospital will have a duty to notify the local authority under the new Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. Make sure you discuss your housing needs with the NHS staff prior to discharge and the earlier the better so they can speak to the local authority to make any necessary arrangements.


Mental Health Support

Do you need urgent mental health help now? If you’ve had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone immediately such as your GP, a friend, a relative or someone else you can trust.

Call the Crisis Line on 0330 726 0130; call the Samaritans free on 116 123. If you’ve already taken an overdose or harmed yourself, dial 999


Substance Misuse

Find out about substance misuse and drug abuse, including where to get help, the effects of drugs, and real-life stories of addiction and recovery on the NHS Live Well website.

  • Open Road provides drug and alcohol services across Essex and Medway. They can be contacted on 01206 766096 and the Helpline is 0844 4991323 (calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charges).
  • EYPDAS (Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service) is free and fully accessible, seeing young people in the community at locations chosen by and appropriate for them.
  • Phoenix Homes Colchester help people struggling with mental health and substance issues by providing supported housing and alcohol misuse services. They are contactable on 01206 561767 (Supported Housing) and/or 01206 546854 (Alcohol Project).
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