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Urgent appeal for volunteers at Great Yarmouth’s Citizens Advice Bureau

PUBLISHED: 11:39 29 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:51 29 April 2017

Great Yarmouth's Citizens Advice Bureau, which has put out an urgent appeal for volunteers. Picture: DH

Great Yarmouth's Citizens Advice Bureau, which has put out an urgent appeal for volunteers. Picture: DH

Archant

It’s a free service turned to by thousands of people in their hours of need.

Whether it’s money woes, legal issues, or consumer disputes, the Citizens Advice Bureau provides a listening ear for members of the public whenever needed.

The bureau, which has offices in Norwich, North Walsham and Attleborough - among other locations - relies heavily on volunteers to offer support to people in hard times.

However, in Great Yarmouth, the service has been hit by hard times of its own, with its branch struggling to attract volunteers.

The branch on Stonecutters Way offered advice to 2,800 people in the past year, either in person or on the phone, however, on some days just two advisers are able to handle enquiries.

The branch has now put out an urgent appeal for volunteers to donate their time to help the office continue to offer support to people in the borough.

David Potten, acting chief executive of Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “There are many people in Great Yarmouth who need our help. It is not only one of the most deprived areas in Norfolk, but the whole of Britain, according to all the government’s deprivation indices.

“We’re a professional organisation and we give our volunteers a thorough training. It can be demanding work, it can be stressful, but it is immensely rewarding knowing that you are helping people who really need that help.”

Mr Potten said that it was particularly critical that the charity is able to support people in the Yarmouth borough, given the difficulties many people are experiencing due to the roll-out of Universal Credit.

He added: “Half of all questions we deal with are related to debt. The roll-out of the Universal Credit benefit in Great Yarmouth has been a very difficult experience for many claimants.

“They are getting into financial trouble because they have to wait up to six weeks to receive a payment.”

The office is staffed by 15 volunteers, who each work one or two days a week, just nine of which are advisors.

However, Mr Potten said more volunteers are also urgently needed to act as receptionists and administrators, as well as advisors.

To volunteer, contact Emma Manser on 01603 679680.

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