Grant Request from Citizens Advice 2022

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Citizens Advice TNMWD
1-3 Bridge Buildings
The Strand
Barnstaple EX32 8LW
Tel 01237 879169

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Dear Sally

Re: Belstone Parish Council Donation request 2022-23

Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon offers free services to members of the public providing advice and information for the benefit of the individual and the community. Many members of the public come to us in difficult circumstances when they have no one else to turn to, often in life changing situations.

In the 2020-21 financial year our organisation as a whole helped 13,822 individuals with 30,501 issues and on average were able to help each client make an income gain of £6,353, and, in cases where there were significant debt issues, we ensured that an average £12,694 of debt per person was written off. Our work also contributes significantly to health and well-being: – A survey by National Citizens Advice in December 2020 found that of over 400 people who had used our services 6 in 10 felt less, stressed, depressed and anxious and 4 in 10 had more money or better control of their finances. During the current financial year as a direct result of the economic effects of the Pandemic, already significant problems with debt across the county were further exacerbated with current predictions (September 2021) suggesting that the additional impact of the end of the Job Retention Scheme and the £20 a week increase to Universal Credit would mean that around 75% of the people we give debt and benefits advice to will not have enough income to cover essential outgoings. Coupled to the impact of planned energy price increases and supply issues we believe that there is significant chance of an overall increase of greater than 60% in demand for advice and an estimated 600,000
people across the UK will find themselves unable to afford basic food and essentials.

We constantly strive to ensure that our service adapts to meet the challenges of our clients in these times. In order to continue to provide high-quality advice and guidance, we switched a significant part of our delivery towards internet and phone-based services which remains tailored
towards meeting individual’s needs efficiently and effectively but have gradually re-opened our faceto-face services for the most vulnerable clients across the county and are looking at potential options for new outreach centres and arrangements which create greater access for people in rural areas. We also have a number of specialist advice projects that can be accessed including a service for cancer sufferers, support and advice to families with young children, carers and help for people who have financial problems.

We pride ourselves on our credible reputation for giving high quality advice. To ensure our volunteers are providing this standard, we continually update and support them with training on complex enquiry areas. Training is a large expense for our organisation along with the need for experienced paid supervisors to support our volunteer advisers. We receive no financial help from our National Body, operating as an independent charity.

Between April and September 2021 3 clients from Belstone Parish accessed our services for advice and information on 3 issues – Debt, Consumer Goods and Services and Other. Last year we helped clients from the West Devon Local authority area to receive over £739,000 of income gain to which they did not know they were entitled. This financial support was then brought back into the local economy. For every £1 of Local Authority funding we receive, we generate £3.47 in fiscal benefit

As normal we are approaching every Town council and parish council throughout the West Devon area for funding and we would be extremely grateful if your Parish Council would consider making a donation to our valuable service to enable the residents of your Parish to continue to access free, independent, confidential and impartial advice.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Vingoe
Business Funding and Development Officer
Citizens Advice TNMWD

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