I remember working as a volunteer at Citizens Advice Bude, work I think was worthwhile and which I loved, as stressful as it could sometimes be.
Bude’s Citizens Advice folded due to a lack of funding.
Anyway, there is good news ahead for the future of the service (and who knows, maybe that will extend to Bude):
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland will receive a funding boost of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand for advice and information from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Scully.
The funding will allow them to increase their capacity so they can continue to deliver advice on a range of issues, such as if a person cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus, or how they can protect themselves from or report a coronavirus-related scam.
The money is part of a £750 million pot announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help frontline charities continue their vital work during the outbreak.
In line with government advice on social distancing, Citizens Advice, which operates in England and Wales, and Citizens Advice Scotland have temporarily closed their 331 offices, suspended outreach services and shifted their advice services online and over the phone.
They have since seen a significant increase in demand for telephone advice and webchats, and this funding will help them to continue to deliver their services remotely as well as ensuring their online content reflects the most up to date advice.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has led the allocation of funding to support charities providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis.
Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Scully said:
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have continued to provide an invaluable service to the public throughout this deeply unsettling period.
Now more than ever, it is imperative people have access to free, confidential advice on money, legal and consumer problems.
This funding will ensure Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have the right resources to provide people with the support they need, when they need it most.
Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
During this pandemic we’ve seen a surge in people coming to us for advice. We expect this demand will carry on as people’s lives continue to be affected by the economic impact of COVID-19.
This funding will allow us to increase the support we can provide over the phone and online – especially to those who need it most.
The effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for a long time. Support for Citizens Advice and other charities is crucial to making sure that everyone has access to the help they need at this incredibly challenging time.