The decorations are down, the Christmas tree replanted in the garden (for the green ones of us) and the diet has started. Yes, it’s January 2021 and for most of us, we are glad to see the back of 2020 and start afresh with positive news and life getting back to as normal, as possible.
For Citizens Advice Bassetlaw, 2020 was an odd year but there were many positives that emerged out of the difficult times: from their amazing volunteers adapting their way of volunteering and working from home, to lots of new volunteers joining them because they had more time to train online and do the studying that is required in most roles.
Their AGM was held in December 2020 and some facts and figures that were presented at this meeting included that over the last year, their volunteers and paid staff helped 4,934 people with 12,919 specific issues. Their top enquiry issues were:
- Welfare Benefits (5,266)
- Money advice (3,100)
- Employment (869)
- Housing (721)
- Utilities (574)
- Relationship (561)
One example of a client who was helped by Citizens Advice Bassetlaw is Doug who was struggling financially – he was behind in paying his bills. Doug had a history of mental and physical health issues leading to a history of alcohol dependency. He found it really hard to explain his situation to the adviser and had no idea of the extent of his debts. The strain was also aggravating his existing health condition.
Their debt team helped Doug with his problem and found out that he recently had a change in his employment. This placed added pressure on his finances, which was why he was getting behind with his bills. They helped Doug to:
- place a hold on all Doug’s creditors
- identify ways to reduce his expenditure
- submit a claim for Personal Independence Payment
- refer Doug to treatment for detox and rehabilitation
- Apply for a Debt Relief Order
The outcome was over £13,000 of personal debt was cleared, empowering Doug to better deal with his finances and to focus him on returning to employment and improved health outcomes.
It is clear to see the difference Citizens Advice Bassetlaw make. In 2019 – 2020:
- £7,135,131 is the amount of personal debt they supported.
- £3,503,370 is the additional benefits and grant income for their clients.
- Their clients were also happy with the service they received, with comments including:
“You gave me so much help and advice that helped me move forward with my problem that I’m now getting sorted out”
“Thank you for the support and advice I was given. I was given support to access the local food bank and it felt good to talk about my difficulties living on Universal Credit.”
“The people helped, they were very sympathetic and understanding towards my needs.”
“I found the Macmillan based advice extremely professional and helpful.”
“I recommend you to all who don’t know what they should do or where to turn.”
“My particular adviser was very efficient, very reassuring, supportive, informative and helpful. He also had a calm demeanour about him, and made me feel listened to.”
Citizens Advice Bassetlaw advisers are offering telephone support from Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 2.00pm. To contact them call:
Local number: 01909 498894
Debt problems: 01909 498890
Their website is www.bassetlawcab.org.uk/ for all their details, including volunteering with them.