Citizens Advice bus helps over 1,000 people in its first year

CITIZENS Advice East Dorset & Purbeck is celebrating the first anniversary of its Advice Bus, having helped over 1,000 residents with free advice and support in that time.

The service is provided five days a week by two advisers and supports residents with issues include debt, benefits and housing.

Katrina Ford, Business Development Manager of Citizens Advice East Dorset & Purbeck, said: “In these challenging times, local communities are really welcoming of the bus service.

“It has given much needed support to those who live in rurally isolated communities and who may not necessarily have been able to access existing services.

READ MORE: New Citizens Advice bus offers free help in Purbeck

“In some cases, it’s been a lifeline to people, as shown in our example case study.

“As an independent charity, we rely upon grants and donations to fund our service.

“It costs £40,000 to run the Advice Bus for a year. We would love to hear from any business, organisation or individuals who would be willing to support us.”

To donate to the service, visit their website.

Advice Bus Case Study

Help was given to a resident because the Advice Bus visited his community. He couldn’t access existing office and outreach services due to mental health issues.

A Citizens Advice spokesperson said: “Initially, it took a number of weeks for the client to visit the bus although he had been in the vicinity several weeks prior to this.

“He would hide if other people were around and it would be difficult for the advisers to locate him, almost as if he had the courage to come but this was lost if other people are around.

“Over four months he developed a trusting relationship with the advisers so is able to attend without fear or judgement. He is able to openly describe the difficulties he is facing.

“The client does not answer his phone so a weekly bus service means that he can retain contact and remain engaged with Citizens Advice.

“This has also meant that the actions placed on the client can be broken down into small manageable steps.”

The Advice Bus stops at locations across East Dorset & Purbeck including:

East Dorset: Colehill, Corfe Mullen, Sixpenny Handley, St Leonards & St Ives, Sturminster Marshall, Three Legged Cross, Verwood and West Moors

Purbeck: Bovington, Corfe Castle, Lytchett Matravers, Swanage, Winfrith and Wool

Visit the website for Advice Bus days, times and addresses

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