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Citizens advice service ‘busy as ever’ despite coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 15:07 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 29 May 2020

North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau at St Margaret's House, Lowestoft

North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau at St Margaret's House, Lowestoft

Citizens Advice Bureau

A citizens advice bureau has been “as busy as ever” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although staff and volunteers at the North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) have currently not been able to see people in person, they have advised more than 730 people remotely since the lockdown began.

This has been done through the phone, e-mail and digital access via the CAB’s secure website, with “many people” who have not needed to use services before turning to the North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau for help with benefits, debt, employment, housing and family matters.

Janet John, chief executive of the North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “We have expanded our services to provide support for people who are feeling lonely and isolated during these difficult times.

Understandably many of us feel that life as we know is on hold but although the government has put in place many measures – furloughing workers, extending deadlines for benefit claims, mortgage holidays, extending the notice periods for people being evicted to name but a few – there is a bewildering array of changes almost every day.

“As restrictions begin to be lifted creditors will start actively pursuing debts, landlords will progress evictions, employers may have to lay people off or close completely.

“Now, more than ever, people will need the quality assured advice that we can provide and the sooner they contact us the sooner we will be able to help.”

With the team of fully trained staff and volunteers including debt, benefit, employment and housing specialists, all of the CAB’s services are free.

Janet John added: “The return to ‘normality’ may be slow but if people contact us now we can work with them to resolve their problems, giving them peace of mind and the confidence to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“If you are struggling with debt or worried about your finances get in touch.

“If you need to claim benefits or progress a benefit claim speak to us, whether it’s Universal Credit, disability benefits, tax credits, pensions or any other benefit; if it’s a housing, employment, family or any other problem, get in touch – we are there for everyone.

“Whatever you are worrying about, no matter how big or how small, we are there to help and if it’s something that we can’t deal with directly we can link you in to other specialist agencies that can help you.”

Telephone lines are open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 2.30pm via 01502 518510. Visit www.nesuffolkcab.org.uk or e-mail bureau@nescab.cabnet.org.uk


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