For more than 80 years the Citizens Advice service has been providing free, confidential, independent advice to anyone who needs it.
The service started the day after World War Two broke out and gave advice to whoever needed it on a range of issues including evacuation, what to do if they’d lost their home and how to get a new ration book.
We’re still doing much of the same today, whether that’s helping people keep a roof over their heads, or issuing food bank vouchers. But Covid-19 has had a big impact on the way we give advice.
While the pandemic meant we had to close our doors, we continued to help people by giving advice over the phone, by email and web chat.
Over the past 18 months we’ve responded to record numbers of emails and answered thousands of calls from people in Wiltshire needing advice.
We know this has worked very well for many people, so as we move out of lockdown, we won’t be going back to how things were pre-Covid.
From September 2021 we’ll continue to help people over the phone, by email and web chat, where that works for them, while reserving our face to face support for when it's most needed.
However, we won’t be running a drop-in service, so we will be asking people to ring us, or email us first.
This way we can assess the best way of helping people, including booking an appointment where needed. It will also give people the opportunity to get the advice they need, or be signposted to the most appropriate service without having to travel. It also allows us to tailor our face-to-face appointment to the person who has called.
We’ve already made our Adviceline free to call and we’re recruiting more advisors to help answer phone calls and emails. We’re also working with partner organisations and community venues to have more access points to our service, particularly for people who are digitally excluded.
We know there will be challenges along the way and we may not always get things right, especially early on, but we’ll keep it under review to help ensure we can make our service better for the people that need us today, and in the future.
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