More than 200 extra people in South Norfolk have accessed free face-to-face advice over the last twelve months as part of a new advice services project.
South Norfolk Advice Services, a project funded by Big Lottery, involves Diss, Thetford and District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Norfolk CAB and other agencies like the homeless charity Shelter.
A hub for partnership working between these services has been created in Diss.
More people are now accessing specialist advice sessions including debt, benefits and employability skills which were not available previously.
This project, running for a year, aims to explore innovative ways to transform the delivery of social welfare advice in the area.
Cynthia Schears, Diss, Thetford and District CAB manager explained how the project has helped more people access the service.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of people asking for help with benefit claims and debt,” she said.
“Using a new referral scheme project partners can put clients directly in touch with specialist services including immigration advice, and support with job seeking and money management skills.”
She also praised the new jobs club the service provides.
“The new job club on Tuesdays 10am to noon at Diss CAB is really taking off and all are welcome.
“As an organisation this is the first time we have worked in partnership with many other agencies to coordinate advice services in South Norfolk. We are sharing best practice and can offer our clients a more efficient service,” she said.
The service relies on volunteers, who are trained to help with information giving, advice sessions and reception.
With 19 new recruits joining in the last year, the service is offers ongoing support, according to Becky Chapman, volunteer coordinator at Diss.
She said: “The CAB has a long tradition of offering comprehensive training and ongoing support to volunteers.”
To volunteer, contact Becky Chapman on 01379 644912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org