Helping people in troubled times
As we prepare to start work on our annual impact report we use the opportunity to reflect on the service and its challenges over the past 12 months. We have seen a disproportionate increase in demand in the last quarter (January – March 2023) during which we helped 2,500 clients. The cost-of-living crisis is undoubtedly having an impact on Broxtowe but our firm message is that we can provide help that makes a difference. This year 108 clients completed our outcomes survey that for the first time included measures of improved financial resilience.
Over half the respondents told us that they have benefited from improved financial resilience as a result of the advice they received. A quarter of clients saw their income increase and 15% felt more secure in their housing situation, mainly due to improved affordability. However, there were a range of outcomes from ability to budget, reduction in energy costs, getting a grant to help them through difficult times or even the ability to start building a safety net through saving.
During 2022/23 our capacity to help people was significantly helped by the additional grants we receive to run focused projects like our housing advice service, Advice on prescription, debt casework team and the Financial Resilience Project. Additional capacity is also provided to help people who use the Hope food bank. However, despite a reduction in unrestricted grants the core service remains crucial to our capacity representing almost 70% of all clients seen.
Our full 2023 Impact Report is due to be published in early summer.
Citizens Advice cost-of-living in four charts
Our national organisation provides monthly briefings on how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting to the enquiries at data that we are seeing across England and Wales. The increasing demand is remarkable and locally this is translating into a record number of clients asking for help. The provisional figure for unique clients helped in Nottinghamshire during the first quarter of 2023 stands at a record 10,500. This puts to combined Nottinghamshire Citizens Advice charities on target for 40,000 clients in 2023.
Local data reflects national trends with a sharp rise in the number of people contacting Citizens Advice for help with cost-of-living related issues. In addition to general cost of living support there are some worrying trends emerging:
Greater number of older working age people (45-64) seeking our help with budgeting due to a negative budget
An increase in fuel related debts
Rental poverty for those in the private renters due to supply and costs increases. Recently the BBC reported that the number of privately rented homes being available has reduced by a third.
Voter ID – Reminder
You may already be aware that we have local elections taking place in Broxtowe on Thursday 4 May. This year there will be a new requirement as photo ID will be needed to be able to vote in a polling station, postal voters won’t need this as their signature will be acceptable.
Here are the key forms key forms of ID that are accepted:
- Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
- Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
- A Blue Badge
- Older Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
- Disabled Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
Out of date photo ID can still be used as long as it looks like you and has the same name you used to register to vote
If you do not have any of the above forms of ID and wish to vote in person you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as Voter Authority Certificate. Click here to apply.