Bristol CAB sees 'significant rise' in people seeking help

Citizens Advice Bureaux in Bristol have reported a "significant" increase in the numbers of people using their services in the past year.

Sue Evans, CAB director, said despite there being "more demand than they could meet" the service was coping.

She said common issues were benefits and debt but there had also been a "real rise" in employment problems.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said Bristol's CAB provided an "invaluable service".

Bristol CAB released the figures in its Impact Report - it said it had advised 8,700 people directly in the last financial year - up from 7,547 in 2011/12.

Ms Evans said "demand was constantly rising".

"The fact that we've managed to see another 1,000 people this year by changing the way we do our services is really significant for us."

She said they had recently introduced a specialist employment unit, staffed by trained volunteers, which helped those who needed support through situations such as employment tribunals.

"A debt issue isn't just a number on a credit card bill," Ms Evans said.

"It's about the risk of homelessness, the risk of relationship breakdown, the lack of wellbeing - the worry because you can't even go to work because you are so worried about your debts."

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