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Community / Another busy year for Citizens Advice Bureau

All of the organisation’s advice was given out remotely in 2020/21

MORE than 1,500 people were supported by the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in 2020/21 in what was a challenging year for many.

The charity’s annual report shows that around half of the people who received help during the financial year were new to the service.

It advised on more than 5,700 issues. But due to the constraints of the pandemic, all of the advice was delivered remotely – by phone, email, letter or social media/video calls.

The CAB helped people gain over £1.3 million, mostly through supporting benefit applications and appeals.

Meanwhile 84 people were supported in tackling over £500,000 of debt.

CAB chair Fiona Robertson said: “I would like to thank the staff and volunteers for their incredible dedication to the work of Shetland CAB in this turbulent year and thank them for the difference they make in supporting and improving the lives of people in Shetland.”

She said the issues and advice sought by clients is varied, ranging from benefits, rent arrears, consumer and employment issues to utility providers.

Image taken from the CAB annual report.

“The challenge for the coming year will be adapting and re-designing the service as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased to re-incorporate face-to-face contact where needed, but also retain some of the new working practices that have proved positive.

“We will continue with our key aim of providing high quality advice to meet the needs of those in our community,” Robertson added.

The work of Shetland CAB is funded by Shetland Charitable Trust, Shetland Islands Council, the European Social Fund, Citizens Advice Scotland, the Climate Challenge Fund and the Energy Savings Trust.

The generalist advice service is delivered by volunteers who have trained to become licensed advisers. They donate more than 10,000 hours to the bureau each year.

Meanwhile advice on benefits, money, energy, pensions and patient support is delivered by specialist paid staff.

Contact details for the local CAB can be found on its website.