More than four million pounds in claims processed by Citizens Advice across Cambs during pandemic
- Credit: Archant
More than four million pounds in benefits have been processed by Citizens Advice across Cambridgeshire since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity that operates in the rural areas of the county helped 1289 people from April to October after a “spike” in the number of Universal Credit queries.
They also helped more than 200 residents in crisis get £30,840 in support and a further 98 households were given awards totalling £6,267 from the Covid Emergency Funding.
Speaking at Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire’s (CARC) virtual AGM, Rob Marshall, advice services manager, said:
“Our client based shifted. We generally helped a higher proportion of sick or disabled people, vulnerable groups such as lone parents, social tenants and people from abroad – living or working in UK.
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“There was in our enquiry areas also some quite major shifts.
“There was a considerable spike in the number of Universal Credit queries.
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“In total our stats show that we actively assisted 1289 clients with claiming UC and other benefits resulting in benefit income gains of £4,402,846.
“There was also a significant rise in those people that needed help via grants and voucher schemes as well as food banks.
“We helped a large number of clients with crisis help via Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme and also the Covid Emergency Funding.”
CARC took more than 700 calls before England entered their second lockdown at the start of November.
Mr Marshall said that the charity, which was formed during the Second World War, had seen a “profound” impact across their services.
He added: “Future challenges now include how we can get face to face appointments up and running in our offices.
“Our volunteers demographic means they are in the higher risk group and we have to ensure their safety is paramount moving forward.
“It was very gratifying and humbling to see a charitable service such as CARC rise to meet these new challenges in such a positive and proactive way.”
Anyone in need free impartial advice can get in touch at: www.citizensadviceruralcambs.org.uk or by calling 0808 278 7807.