Funding to help Citizens Advice with 'tsunami’ of new enquiries
Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations, including Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West). Before lockdown, Citizens Advice were fortunate to have 50 active volunteers but now COVID-19 has reduced these numbers and more are needed to meet ever increasing demand.
They needed to recruit a Training and Development Manager to build up the volunteer team whilst also increasing the diversity of the volunteer team to reflect the demographics of the local community. We are delighted to award a large grant of £40,000 over two years to enable them to do this.
The volunteers will play a vital role in helping the large number of people in our community who will be experiencing hardship for the first time as the full economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold. The volunteers will offer much-needed advice on issues such as employment, debt, benefits or housing.
Margaret Bourne, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) says: “The number of queries relating to Universal Credit alone are up 34% from last year and up by 30% for Employment queries alone”.
Margaret adds “From the first lockdown in March this year we have seen a huge increase in demand for our services with so many Elmbridge residents losing their jobs as an impact of the pandemic, this in turn results in problems with debt, housing and people suffering real hardship. We anticipate that this will continue to rise as we move through a second wave of Covid 19. We are so grateful to Walton Charity for the funding for our Training and Development Manager, who is now in post and is working hard to recruit additional volunteers”.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with the Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West), contact them on 01932 248670. They are particularly keen to hear from young people or anyone who has lost their job and who may want to become an adviser. Volunteers can increase their career aspirations through participating in accredited training from Citizens Advice.