Citizens Advice in Suffolk thank volunteers for hard work
Citizens Advice charities in Suffolk have helped 22,000 people with issues such as debt, housing, relationships and employment during the year.
The charities say Christmas can be particularly difficult for vulnerable people and it works to solve a wide range of issues at this time of year.
In partnership with Suffolk Community Foundation, Citizens Advice also helps vulnerable people in the county to heat their homes this winter.
Citizens Advice Ipswich administers applications for the Surviving Winter Grant across Suffolk and so far more than £20,000 in donations has been shared in the form of over 170 grants to elderly people.
Partners are aiming to reach a target of £150,000 in donations to be awarded to around 800 households to help keep them warm over the winter.
As well as providing this much-needed extra funding, the charities across the county give additional help with energy costs, benefits applications and money advice.
In this year alone, Citizens Advice in Suffolk has also dealt with £9million of debt and has helped to stabilise the financial situation for families in 2018.
The charities say that helping to manage debt leads to people getting some control back in their lives, and allows them to budget for the everyday essentials as well as occasional extras like Christmas presents.
Colleen Sweeney, of Sudbury and District Citizens Advice, said: “People turn to us when their problems are difficult to solve, and this is even more important at Christmas, which can be a difficult time for many.
“Volunteers are the backbone of our service. This year 425 volunteers gave their time at their local Citizens Advice in Suffolk to help people in need.
“Thanks to them, we helped 22,000 people. We are grateful to all of those who enable us to help those in need, including volunteers, funders and charity partners.
“We receive numerous thank you cards and small gifts from grateful clients at this time of year.
“Though that is not why we do it, it’s great that our volunteers and staff are recognised for their hard work throughout the year.
“One client put it better than I can – ‘thank you to everyone for helping my family get through this difficult time – I would not have known where to go if you weren’t here. Until now I didn’t know how hard it could be’.”