Posted by on 7 November 2016

People in Forest of Dean are over £1 million better off thanks to the work ofCitizens Advice Forest of Dean

Local people in the Forest of Dean have benefited to the tune of over £1 million in the last year from the help provided Citizens Advice Forest of Dean, according to new analysis by the charity.

People have been left in a better financial position after the charity helped them deal with spiralling debts, claim support such as tax credits and other benefits, and resolve costly problems with their energy bills and other consumer issues.

In the last year the charity helped 2,720 people with 18,800 problems, including debt, benefit, housing and employment issues. Over a third of these clients were struggling with disabilities or long term health issues, physical or mental, and the charity's help has enabled them to cope better with life’s challenges. 

Problems can arise suddenly and can happen to anyone – losing a job, becoming ill or a relationship breaking down. One problem can lead to another and become overwhelming; the effect on mental health can be very acute. Problems are often complex and knowing how to deal with them can be challenging. It needs someone skilled and independent to stand back and take an overall look at the situation. This is where Citizens Advice can help.

Citizens Advice Forest of Dean is run by 9 staff and 28 volunteers, who provide free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems. The charity is a member of the national Citizens Advice network but is run as a local charity with its own board of volunteer trustees.

Lynn Teague, chief executive of Citizens Advice Forest of Dean, said:

“Our staff and volunteers help thousands of people in the Forest of Dean every year to find a way forward.  We can’t put a financial value to all the work we do helping local people, but we have been able to identify and measure some of the benefits of our service.

The help we provide to local residents can also contribute to savings for the public purse. By tackling people’s problems before they get worse we can help to relieve pressure on government-funded health and housing services.

People don’t have to suffer in silence - anyone who is grappling with a problem in their day to day lives should get in touch with us.

As a charity dedicated to helping the people of the Forest we are dependent on local volunteers and funding.  We are always looking for new volunteers and trustees, so if you would like to join a fantastic team, we'd love to hear from you.  Volunteers get full training and all the support they need to help them in the wonderful job they do."