Like others up and down the country, the Local Citizens Advice in Brighton and Hove is made up of a small team of staff and a raft of highly trained and dedicated volunteers. Without people being prepared to give up their time for free, the Citizens Advice model would not be possible.
With government cuts shrinking welfare benefits under the guise of austerity, with so much change happening to legal aid and employment rights, Citizens Advice is busier than ever. At a time when demand for practical support and advice is at its highest, it's madness to think that Citizens Advice operates under a cloud of uncertainty about future funding.
In addition to offering residents advice and guidance on problems they are experiencing, Citizens Advice do important awareness raising within local communities.
When I visited my Local Citizens Advice on Friday, they told me about the work they are doing to help people avoid falling prey to scams. July is Scams Awareness Month, so they are actively highlighting what to look out for, and how to report any suspicious activity; such as online, telephone and doorstep scams.
Nearly half the UK has been targeted by a scam, and figures suggest that Brighton and Hove has a high number of scams reported by residents – who also suffer higher losses compared to the UK average.
If you receive any suspicious correspondence and would like to seek advice, or would like more information about what to look out for, details can be found on here.
It was great to catch up with staff and volunteers at Brighton and Hove’s Local Citizens Advice on Friday. It was a good opportunity to hear about some of the challenges they face, and to discuss the amazing work they do to support vulnerable residents living in the city.