Citizens Advice throughout Dorset have put special measures in place so that local people can continue to get help during the coronavirus crisis and as lockdown eases. The service is now preparing to give additional support to help local residents begin to get back to normal.
Following Government guidelines, volunteers quickly adapted to the change in their working environment from no longer offering face to face appointments to working from home, whilst providing phone and digital advice. This resulted in many people having to learn new skills and taking on new roles.
Since the start of lockdown on 23rd March, Citizens Advice across Dorset helped over *2000 people with over 6000 issues. The type of issues include supporting vulnerable residents who are shielding; providing employment and benefits advice to employees now on furlough or at risk of redundancy; guidance for returning to work; family and relationship advice and much more.
Daniel Cadisch, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Central Dorset says: “Since lockdown, we have seen a big increase in the number of people using our service to seek help for key subjects such as employment and Universal Credit and we expect demand to increase considerably across all subject areas as lockdown eases and government schemes come to an end.”
“We are an independent charity and never before has it been so critical for us to secure additional funding to allow us to continue to meet demand.”
Citizens Advice Dorset is focused on the recovery phase and is working with partners and funders to anticipate high demand as the lockdown eases and the government support schemes scale back.
Daniel continues: “Responding to the crisis has been an opportunity to build upon existing partnerships and form new ones for the benefit of local people, including working with Volunteer Centre Dorset, Age UK and Shelter.”
Dorset residents can contact Citizens Advice by calling the Dorset Adviceline on 03444 111 444, or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk, Advice is free, impartial and confidential.