Citizens Advice Scotland has continued to provide crucial support to communities throughout the pandemic
A charity has revealed the extent to which it has helped communities over the last year.
The Citizens Advice network helped people almost one million times during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new data report released today reveals.
Figures from April 2020 to the end of March 2021 reveal the network issued 987,348 pieces of advice to over 165,000 clients.
These figures do not include the people who self-helped online through the Advice for Scotland website, which saw over 2.5 million unique users over the same period, a 40% increase on the year before.
The average CAB client gets advice on multiple issues, such as social security, employment, housing energy and debt.
In the past year, the types of advice given have changed slightly. While social security and debt issues remained the top two advice areas for CABs overall, more advice was provided on employment, housing and utilities during the pandemic than the year before.
The CAS data report also reveals high levels of client satisfaction for the network. Over 1,000 CAB clients were surveyed with the majority of survey respondents (95%) reporting they were satisfied with the service provided by CAB.
The same proportion (95%) stated that they would recommend CAB to others. In addition, 91% of respondents stated that the service had either met or exceeded their expectations.
More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents reported that the advice they received improved their mental health and wellbeing, while 80% said it had relieved stress.
More than nine in ten clients (91%) felt that the support from CAB increased their confidence in dealing with issues in the future, while a similar proportion (94%) reported that it helped them to realise they were not on their own, and that help and support was available.
CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “We’ve all gone through a year like no other, and the response of the CAB network to this national crisis was simply first class. CABs didn’t miss a beat in transitioning to remote working so that people could get the advice they need.
“To help people almost 1 million times during the pandemic is simply a staggering achievement. This advice provision reflects the complexity of problems people have faced during the pandemic and underlines how essential holistic, person centred advice is. Life isn’t black and white and problems are not isolated but connected, and our brilliant advisers were there to ensure people got all the help they needed.
“To have achieved this while delivering such high levels of client satisfaction underscores what a fabulous resource CABs are, people gained confidence and improved their mental health and wellbeing having received help from our brilliant trained advisers.
“We’ve been doing this for 80 years, and have been there for people during all manner of national crisis. We know we’ll face a challenging economic situation once the vaccine roll out makes the pandemic is a thing of the past, and the Citizens Advice network will be there to help, as we always have been.”