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Community / Citizens advice bureau praised in parliament

THE LOCAL Citizens Advice Bureau was praised in the Scottish Parliament by Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart this week for the “valuable and respected service” it provides.

It is currently the 80th year of Scotland’s citizens advice service and a debate was held in Holyrood on Tuesday marking the work it undertakes.

Beatrice Wishart MSP. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

Citizens Advice Bureau offers a free service, giving out information and advice in areas from benefits and employment to immigration, health and housing.

Wishart said that last year the Shetland branch saw more than 1,700 clients and gave out nearly 6,500 pieces of advice.

“In the course of that work, they helped those clients gain a total of £1.7 million in compensation, unclaimed benefits, withheld wages and so on,” she told parliament.

“That is not only a terrific result for those families, many of whom will have been really struggling, it is also a significant boost to our local economy, as that money will remain in the local economy, where it will have been spent on essentials in local shops and businesses.”

Manager of the Shetland branch Karen Eunson said “we were really pleased to be mentioned in the debate, and are keen to make sure that local people know we are here to help them with any problems they may have”.

“Our advice is always free, impartial and completely confidential,” she added.

Eunson, meanwhile, said that the Shetland branch – which is located at Lerwick’s Market House – is on the look-out for more volunteers.

“We are also looking for new volunteers at the moment, so if anyone has a few hours a week they can spare they should please contact us and we will talk them through how our volunteering system works,” she said.

“You don’t need to have any particular skills or experience, just a bit of spare time and a willingness to help our community. We offer expenses as well as full training.”