In the period from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022, WDCAB helped 4,278 clients with 10,351 enquiries.
Advice and assistance was given on 27,260 different issues.
How so? If a client with a young family approaches the CAB after losing their job, then we could be dealing with a number of benefits issues (e.g Universal Credit from DWP, Social Security Scotland payments), employment issues (unfair dismissal, redundancy, money owed) and possibly debt issues (including utilities, housing costs, credit cards, loans).
So a single telephone call can sometimes lead to a case running for months.
Despite this high volume of enquiries, we still have people asking, “when will the CAB be open again?” But we never closed.
In March 2020 we were forced to change the way we deliver the service.
We switched to digital and telephone services.
Now more than 90% of our enquiries are either via telephone or online.
Despite this success with our telephone and digital services, we remained concerned about the challenges faced by those people who need face-to-face advice.
We made a fundamental change this summer when we embarked upon our Advice in the Community initiative which involves working with local community groups such as the Big Disability Group, Y-sort-it, John Connolly Centre, the Carers Centre, Centre 81.
We now have seven confirmed outreach points across West Dunbartonshire (with others pending).
This is the right time to move away from town centre offices and to take our services out into the community for there are still fears around Covid and its mutations and the cost of travel can be prohibitive.
In the coming months WDCAB will do all that we can to help people cope with the cost of living crisis through direct access to quality advice and information.
We want to ensure everyone receives the financial support they are entitled to – their statutory rights – during this crisis.
Our Safe and Warm Advisers will help with advice and assistance on rising fuel costs and energy efficiency.
We will do all that we can to help people to keep their own homes warm and to put money in peoples’ pockets so they are able to make choices as to where they spend that money.
For more information: 0800 484 0136 or www.wdcab.co.uk