Advice charity needs £30,000 to increase number of people it can help in region
- Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is moving to a bigger premises in Yate – which will allow it to double the number of clients it helps face-to-face
- The charity has secured a property near Yate Railway Station – but needs to raise £30,000 to make the building ready for serving the public
- The move is needed at a time demand for help with foodbank referrals and energy bills is spiking
WATCH: Our fundraising appeal video explains the need for the new premises and details the changes that need to be made – https://youtu.be/AK8fuXthQkA
A vital South West advice charity is moving home in order to increase the number of people it can help with face-to face advice.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire will move from its current rented building to a new premises in the New Year.
The team hopes this will mean the charity can help an additional 1,900 people each year.
But the charity needs the help of the public to raise the £30,000 needed to make changes to the building to make it ready for supporting clients.
New premises needed as demand increases
The charity provides essential support to people in the region with a wide range of problems including debt, benefits, energy, employment and housing.
Face-to-face advice sessions are important to clients and many prefer seeing advisers in person to receiving support over the phone or via webchat.
The cost-of-living crisis has seen demand for help with foodbank referrals and energy bills shoot up.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is helping ten times as many people needing referrals for foodbank vouchers as it was before the pandemic.
There was an average of six referrals per month in 2019 – and there are now regularly more than 60 each month.
Similarly, the charity saw more than 60 clients for energy issues in February of 2023 compared to six in February 2019.
Overall, the charity helped a total of 4,183 South Gloucestershire residents with 19,625 issues in 2022/23 – 9 per cent more than in the previous year.
Limitations of current home
The charity has outgrown its home of more than 20 years meaning there is an urgent need for a move to a larger space.
There are only four client interview rooms in the current building. The waiting area space is small and quickly becomes full during open-door advice sessions. This means people often have to stand, sit on the floor or queue outside while they wait to see a qualified adviser.
There are no public toilets on the current site and no room for mobility scooters and pushchairs which have to be left outside.
At the same time, the charity currently only has room for 10 desks shared between 37 people – 20 volunteer advisers and 17 staff.
A rota system is in place for using desks in the office – while for the rest of the time, team members work from home.
Benefits of the new building
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is funding the purchase of Unit 1, Badminton Court – near Yate Railway Station – using reserves and a loan.
But it also needs to raise additional funds for changes such as creating eight new interview rooms. This will double the number of client rooms at its current home near Yate Leisure Centre.
There will also be more office desk space to allow more volunteer advisers and staff to be able to work at the same time.
And there will be a larger waiting room space with comfortable seating to allow more clients to be able to sit comfortably while waiting to see an adviser.
The charity is appealing to the public to donate to its fundraising appeal for the necessary alterations and purchases.
- Glazed partitioning to create 8 client interview rooms
- Desks and chairs for the new client rooms
- Office partitioning
- Waiting area seating
- A large meeting room table and chairs
- Bench desks, chairs and storage furniture
- IT equipment
- IT and phone installation
- Conveyancing & surveys
- Future-proofing technologies to improve the sustainability of our new home
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire’s Chief Executive Officer Chantal Watts said: “We would be very grateful if you could spare £10 towards our cause.
“We appreciate not everyone can spare anything at the moment, so for those who can – it would be fantastic if you could consider donating more to “pay it forward” on behalf of fellow South Gloucestershire residents.”
Clients who have recently visited Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire have given fantastic feedback about the service they received.
One client who used the service last year said: “Good advice and listened to what I had to say. Seemed caring and really tried to help.”
Another who visited earlier this year said: “It was free, easy and friendly to use. The gentleman that I saw seemed to know what he was talking about and gave me confidence to report to Trading Standards.”
- Find out more at: https://www.southgloscab.org.uk/get-involved/donatetoday/our-premises-appeal/
- In 2022-3, Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire helped 4,183 people with 19,625 issues. It saved clients a combined total of £3.8 million – that is the equivalent of £908 back in the pocket of each person it helped.
- Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is a small, local and independent charity and does not receive funding from central government.
- Anyone in South Gloucestershire seeking free, independent, impartial and confidential advice from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can call 0808 278 7947 or visit: southgloscab.org.uk.
WAYS TO DONATE
- Donate online £10 or more through our website “Make a Donation” button – southgloscab.org.uk
- Make a bank transfer: Account name: Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire, Account number: 00020437 / Sort-code: 40-52-40
- Donate by cheque, payable to ‘Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire’ and return to: Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire, Kennedy Way, Yate BS37 4DQ
- Find the charity on JustGiving, CrowdFunder or its Facebook Fundraiser page