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CITIZENS ADVICE HELPS WITH 40,000 ISSUES IN CORNWALL AND ISLES OF SCILLY

Citizens Advice Cornwall has published new figures showing the charity helped 8,600 people overcome 40,400 separate issues in 2020-21.

The statistics are published in the charity’s latest annual report as it gears-up to meet growing demand over the next few years and launches a major new survey of 30,000 households to find out how it can best meet people’s needs.

Other new statistics in the report show:

* CA Cornwall helped local people gain £5.3m in income through unclaimed benefits and grants

* Debts worth a total of £1.8 million were written-off

* For every pound invested in CA Cornwal, £2.35 was generated in savings to the public services worth £3.3m

* 96% of people who came to see us had a positive or very positive experience and 93% would recommend Citizens Advice Cornwall to others.

Citizens Advice Cornwall Chief Executive, Gill Pipkin, said:

“It’s a great testament to the skill and dedication of our volunteers and staff that we continued to provide a high level of service for local people throughout the disruption caused by the pandemic, just when they needed us most.

“We know many people rely on us for help with debts, benefits, housing, employment and relationship breakdowns and the next few years are going to be even tougher with the imminent withdrawal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, the lifting of the energy price cap and the continuing housing crisis in Cornwall and the Scillies.

“That’s why, even with our recent £500k grant from the National Lottery, we still need the public’s help to continue meeting the rising needs of communities from Torpoint to St Just and The Lizard to Bude.”

In response to the increased demand, Citizens Advice has launched a network of Help Hubs to ensure more people can access the free, independent and confidential advice service.

The hubs are located in libraries, community centres and foodbanks across the county and allow people to look-up information on a dedicated computer and have face-to-face online appointments with an adviser. The hubs are open to everyone and no IT experience is needed as staff or volunteers at each site can help set the computers up (see Notes to Editors).

The charity has also launched a number of new initiatives to tackle the root causes of poverty and deprivation in the county, including projects to teach young people basic budgeting skills and saving on energy consumption; specialist advice for people with severe mental health issues (with Pentreath) and work with new housing association tenants to improve their money skills. Another scheme provides legal help for people facing eviction.

Citizens Advice Cornwall Chair, Fran Keene, said:

“We are very proud of the way of the way our staff and volunteers responded to lockdown challenges, with many working from home.

“Now, more than ever, we need the public’s help to meet the rising challenges ahead, whether through donations and fundraising, becoming a volunteer or simply telling people who might need us about the work we do.”

 

Ends.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1 – Citizens Advice Help Hubs can be found in Torpoint, Launceston, Bude, Treverbyn (Clay Country), Newquay, St Austell, Redruth, Helston, St Germans, Pendeen and St Mary’s IoS.

2 – Information on donating and volunteering can be found at citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk

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