More than 19,000 people from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly came to Citizens Advice to help find solutions to their problems in 2016-17 resulting in a £4.2 million gain in income for people living in the area.
The headline statistics are contained in the charity’s annual report, launched by chief executive, Neil Colquhoun and chair of trustees, Sue Swift.
The latest figures continue an upward trend, when the number of people coming to Citizens Advice Cornwall for help leapt by 20% in 2015-16.
The majority of people came to the charity with debt problems (34%), closely followed by issues with benefits and tax credits (32%), financial services (7%), housing (5%) and employment (also 5%).
Citizens Advice advisers were also able to write-off debt worth a total of £5.8m for clients.
Mr Colquhoun said: “We are continuing to see a very high level of demand for help throughout our nine offices and outreach sessions across the county and Isles of Scilly. Thanks to the work of our skilled and dedicated volunteers, we’ve been able to improve the outlook for thousands of people – some in desperate situations – helping them to move on with their lives.”
There were 164 volunteers working for Citizens Advice in 2016-17 in offices and outreach centres from St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly to Torpoint and Bude, contributing a total of 29,000 unpaid hours of work.
Mr Colquhoun added:
“Continued financial support from our funders, such as Cornwall Council, the Government’s Money Advice Service and the Macmillan cancer charity, has helped us deliver an excellent set of results, with 90% of the people we see happy or very happy with the information they receive and 94% saying they would recommend Citizens Advice to others.”
Citizens Advice also launched the Money Skills for Life project in the Camborne, Pool, Redruth area during the year, in partnership with the National Lottery Fund and Cornwall Council to help people improve the way they handle their money and to avoid building-up debts.
In addition to the general advice service, Citizens Advice Cornwall also provided information for parents through Cornwall’s children’s centres; for cancer patients and their families through Macmillan cancer care and for people facing problems with debt through the Government’s Money Advice Service.
Notes to Editors:
1 – For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact Wailim Wong, Citizens Advice Cornwall Communications Officer, on 01209-719226 or 07711-786688 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2 – Citizens Advice Cornwall operates offices in Truro, Falmouth, St Austell, Bodmin, Liskeard, Saltash, Camborne, Newquay and Penzance with outreach offices across the county and on St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.