Wiltshire

Wiltshire's Citizens' Advice 'struggling with demand'

Demand for the Citizens' Advice service in Wiltshire is outstripping supply, the charity has said.

Last year, it received some 23,000 phone calls from people but could only deal with 13,000 of them.

Service bosses said the numbers of people seeking help has been rising steadily over the years, often needing support with a number of problems.

The top five areas advisors deal with are benefits, debt, housing, employment and relationships.

Sarah Cardy, who is chief executive for Wiltshire, said it was trying to recruit more volunteers to answer the phones.

"That's a huge area where people need that first point of contact," Ms Cardy said.

'Multiplier effect'

Currently, the Wiltshire service has 200 volunteers but is keen to find more.

"Most people come in with two or three issues - their benefits have been stopped and this affects other things that they are paying out on... and this causes a multiplier effect," Ms Cardy said.

"One of the most common debt problems at the moment involved people unable to pay their water bill.

"That's a basic thing to be able to have water coming in the house.

"If people can't afford water then you can start to see how people are being squeezed."

Citizens Advice also help people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice.

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