Citizens Advice has settled into the Mansion in the Caring Town Information Exchange (CTIE) space and has seen a steady stream of locals asking for help since they started offering their popular drop in sessions there in April.
Teena Barrett, Advice Services Manager at Citizens Advice South Hams, who set up the Totnes outreach office as well as running Advice Services in the charities head office in Follaton House says, “We have worked in Totnes for many years and lots of people come to our offices in Follaton House, but being in the centre of Totnes has enabled locals who may have problems getting to Follaton to pop in and speak to us.
The 3 main issues that clients seem to have in central Totnes are entitlement to benefits/tax credits, housing and debt.
Benefits is a big issue at the moment, Universal Credit (UC) has kept us busy for months and we are expecting a big increase in the new year as more locals on older benefits change onto UC and face the challenges of applying and sorting out monthly budgets.
Housing is always an issue, finding it and affording it once you have. With the new energy regulations coming into force in April we are advising clients on what they are entitled to and landlords on their responsibilities and how to achieve them in a cost effective way.
Debt is also on the increase in Totnes, often this is a downward spiral that people find hard to escape. Worryingly we have had reports of loan sharks operating in the area. Anyone offered a cash loan without paperwork should be wary, please come to us first for advice before agreeing to anything”.
The drop in sessions at the Mansion run every Wednesday 9.30am–12.30pm or Mon-Thurs 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm at Follaton House.
Christmas break runs from 1pm, Mon 24th Dec – Weds, 2nd January when normal drop in session times resume.
For telephone advice call 03 444 111 444