Citizens Advice Calderdale help thousands through the pandemic
Citizens Advice Calderdale has helped more than 9,700 people during the past year of the pandemic.
The charity, which quickly adapted to help more people via the phone, email and webchat, says benefits, debt, health and community care have been its top pandemic issues.
Between 1 March 2020 and 28 February this year, it has helped 2,155 people with benefits including Universal Credit, and 137 people with employment issues.
Around 89 per cent of people were helped over the phone, via email, letter or webchat. This compares to the year before when 29 per cent of people were helped face-to-face.
Around 24 staff and volunteers have been working from their living rooms, dining tables and kitchens to make sure people could still access much-needed help.
Liz Horne, Operations Manager of Citizens Advice Calderdale, said: “Our staff have all been on a rollercoaster of change throughout this pandemic and have had to adapt to different ways of working to ensure we can still deliver the service.
“We’ve spoken to people who’ve never used Citizens Advice before and have never had to make benefit claims. Suddenly due to this unforeseen situation they have to cope with life changes such as redundancy, illness, threatened homelessness, debt and isolation. They express worry and fear for the future.
“We’re here to listen, advise and support them help them find a way forward.”
Caroline Jones, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Calderdale, said: “I’d like to thank our staff and volunteers who’ve continued to help people find a way forward, as we face the problems of this pandemic together. This has not been easy and they have had to be resilient, flexible and committed to ensure we were there for people needing our help.
“Our advisers have been able to help people check what benefits they’re entitled to, navigate the furlough scheme, and ensure they’re getting all the help and support that is on offer.
“This includes access to our extensive Calderdale partnership network.
“We know people are going to need our help as we begin on the road to recovery, and we urge anyone that needs some support to get in touch as soon as possible.”
For information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Calderdale on 0808 278 7879 open 9.30 to 1pm every week day and 4-5.30 Tuesday evenings or by e-mail via their website, www.calderdalecab.org.uk.