The Swansea Neath Port Talbot Citizens Advice Bureau - A Big Issue Cymru Big List Subscriber
The Citizens Advice Bureau service is a national network of local centres providing free, confidential, independent and impartial help to anyone that needs it. The service has been around for 72 years helping with problems ranging from neighbour disputes to bankruptcy. It helps people with their day to day problems and helps to influence change in government policy.
Can you explain more about what the Citizens Advice Bureau does?
The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems. Every year our advice nationally helps over 2 million people, and our campaigns for better policies benefit even more. 21,500 volunteers have fun and learn new skills while making our work possible. In Swansea Neath Port Talbot we host around 100 volunteering and work experience opportunities each year helping people with valuable back to work experience and training. We have a training centre in Swansea and deliver Introduction to the computer, benefits, debt, financial capability, advice skills and other courses. We also have rooms for hire.
What are the goals for the new Swansea Neath Port Talbot Citizens Advice Bureau?
The merger of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot C.A.B. will help us strengthen the C.A.B. presence locally, give us economies of scale in a number of our functions and provide the foundations to enable us to expand our services and deliver regional projects.
Why is the Citizens Advice Bureau a part of the Big Issue Cymru’s Big List?
We share the values and commitment of the Big Issue in tackling homelessness. We come across people through our work who tell us about their problems with debt, benefits, housing and problems in work and we listen and provide practical help where those in officialdom do not.
How does the ethos of the Citizens Advice Bureau fit in with that of the Big Issue Cymru?
Like the Big Issue we want to enable people to take control of their own lives by providing information, advice and support to help them make informed choices. We help people become more aware of their rights and become more financially, digitally and socially included.
What are the Citizens Advice Bureau’s plans for the future?
The Swansea and the Neath Port Talbot C.A.B. recently merged. The new, bigger, bureau comprises of 40 paid staff and 100 volunteers and will have over £1million in turnover to continue services in the three main centres. We want to be seen as the first port of call for quality advice, that is accessible to more people. We want to work towards being able to deliver services 24/7 across a range of channels – telephone, electronic and face to face.
Why is the Citizens Advice Bureau a success?
Our service is delivered mainly by volunteers who come from all walks of life including being previous clients of the service. We work with a wide range of other organisations in the community. We are not part of the Government or the council and we won’t judge anyone for their problem or their background. We have been able to influence a lot of changes planned by Government and others affecting many people’s lives for the better.
For access to advice ring Adviceline Cymru on 08444 77 20 20 or go to www.adviceguide.org.uk.
For details of volunteering and training opportunities go to www.swanseaneathporttalbotcab.org.uk
To find out more about becoming a supporting subscriber, click here