Advice service appeals for more volunteers as demand increases

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A MORPETH-BASED Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is appealing for more volunteers to help it cope with an expected extra demand for debt advice.

The DAWN CAB, which has been a lifeline for thousands living in the former Castle Morpeth area since opening in 1974, is hoping to recruit new advisers to support its general advice service.

Those who sign up will study a variety of modules to ensure that they are able to provide well-informed advice on a number of matters ranging from housing, debt and benefits to employment, relationships and consumer issues.

DAWN Advice Chief Executive Liz Chadwick said: “Without the backing of volunteers, CABs throughout the country would struggle to help those who need our support the most, especially following the substantial cuts to funding which Citizens Advice experienced in 2011.

“We are looking for people from all walks of life that are willing to regularly donate their time — whether it is someone looking to enhance their CV or someone who just wants to do something constructive with their time.

“CAB advisers must be able to quickly identify appropriate solutions for their clients, while also being capable of recognising any secondary issues which they may be struggling with, so the training can be hard work.

“However, our volunteers are always thrilled with how satisfying being a CAB adviser can be.”

Research has shown that nationally, 2.5million people have fallen behind with at least one bill payment and DAWN Advice is anticipating that the number of inquiries it receives relating to debt will continue to grow.

Ms Chadwick said: “We were warned that the UK may have returned into recession so it’s vital that nobody in need of debt advice slips through the net and that we have the resources available to deal with all inquiries.

“Unfortunately, many of our cases have already started to escalate by the time they reach us. If debt issues aren’t addressed quickly they can have a huge impact on all aspects of a person’s life.

“There is always a solution, however, and the quicker someone asks for help the easier it can be to resolve their problems.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at DAWN CAB should telephone the Bureau on 01670 512831.