Advice trends during the pandemic
The number of people contacting Citizens Advice Broxtowe is on the increase as the pandemic continues to impact on our lives and the local economy. Since the lock-down 2,277 people have contacted Citizens Advice Broxtowe for help with their problems that now total 4,190. We are working hard to increase our capacity and make sure help is available when people need it.
There are some interesting trends across our four main enquiry areas. Welfare benefits, housing and employment problems have increased as a percentage of the problems people present with. What is of concern is the pent up demand in problems with bills and debts. Whilst Citizens Advice made national news reporting that 6 million people are falling behind with bills we are seeing a fall in requests for help with debts. However we anticipate that there will be an increase in pleas for help with housing and other debts once the ban on evictions is lifted on 20th September. The BBC reported on the emerging crisis and we are urging people to get help early and not wait until they are faced with court action.
Remote advice volunteers wanted
In order to meet the forecast increasing demand, Citizens Advice have launched a national campaign to attract volunteers who can work remotely providing people with the help they need. Click on the image below to find our more.
Changes to the Job Retention Scheme during September
From September there will be changes to the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If you are impacted by this make sure you get advice. Your employer should top up your wages to 80% but there are caps to the amount they have to pay and the scheme is due to close on 31st October. Find out more details below:
Time to move away from emergency funding
The Institute for Voluntary Action Research produced a briefing in August that expressed concerns about the continuing trend for grant making bodies focusing on emergency funds. In it’s summary the IVAR states; “both funders and VCSE organisations desperately need to move on from the demands of applying for and distributing six-month grants. The challenge now is to move back to more conventional cycles of one, three and even five-year funding, without losing the urgency and lightness of touch that has characterised the immediate response by so many. For the foreseeable future, all funders are emergency funders.”
Citizens Advice Broxtowe’s own Development Manager expressed our concerns. Neil Clurow says; “Charity grant trusts and government are almost exclusively focusing on short term grants. We are now in a new normality and there needs to be a change of focus that allows charities delivering crucial work in the community to plan services and therefore budget for the longer term.”
The IVAR briefing, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, can be read below:
Thank you for reading.