Citizens Advice supports thousands of residents across Adur
More than 10,000 people sought free advice from a charitable service in Adur last year.
Most of the information sought from Citizens Advice was related to Universal Credit, benefits and tax credits, employment, housing, relationships and family, according to a council report.
As many as 31 per cent of residents who accessed the service in Adur had a long-term health condition.
The average age of clients was between 35 and 54 and the majority were female.
The charity’s Shoreham branch operates from the Shoreham Centre in Pond Road from midday to 4pm, Monday to Thursday.
Footfall at Citizens Advice in Lancing has trebled since it moved to a more central location, according to the report.
The charity moved its base from Lancing Parish Council in South Street to Lancing Library in Penstone Park in April 2017. It is open from 10am to 4pm on Tuesday.
A report, due to be considered by Adur and Worthing council’s joint strategic committee tomorrow (Tuesday, January 8), recommended that the councils continued to support the service for a further two years from April 2019 until March 2022 – subject to funding from West Sussex County Council.
The councils make an annual funding contribution of £163,653 towards Citizens Advice, while the county council contributes £350,000 across the county.
Challenges facing the service, outlined in the report, include having to find and retain 80 per cent of its workforce through volunteers.
Councillor David Simmons said: “Trained volunteers are the life blood of Citizens Advice, and when considering the numbers of people who continue to access the services they provide, we are constantly reminded of the essential nature of the wide-ranging advice and support they deliver to people at times of need.
“We will continue to do our best to support the future of this valued organisation.”
Julie Martin, chief executive of Citizens Advice in West Sussex, said: “Citizens Advice has been helping people for 79 years, giving advice on everything from benefits and employment, including debt management and family matters.
“We always consider how we can best reach and support those residents who need the service the most using all of the available advice channels, as well as through partnership locations, including GP surgeries.
“We are keen to ensure we take local needs and views into account in all our future planning”.
To contact Citizens Advice, call 0344 477 1171 or visit www.advicewestsussex.org.uk for more information.