The Covid-19 pandemic has presented everyone with some new and unprecedented challenges. For Citizens Advice Kingston, the challenge has been to ensure that they remain open to provide the community with advice and information.
The rapidly changing environment has presented communities with a unique set of health, economic and social challenges. Some of these challenges can seem overwhelming and with guidelines changing week by week to manage the pandemic, it can be difficult to know how this will impact on people’s lives.
Citizens Advice Kingston video update
It is no surprise that the uncertainty arising from the pandemic has resulted in a significant rise in demand for advice and information right across the community. Compared to the same month last year, during April 2020 their team of staff and volunteers managed a rise of:
- 63% more telephone calls
- 50% more email enquiries
- 66% rise in casework (e.g. with benefits, housing, or employment)
- A ten-fold increase in visits to their website
There has been a period of adjustment for their clients and staff. One of their team said: “I never thought I would enjoy working from home, but the new systems work well and I am enjoying helping local people with their problems.”
One of their clients said: “The advisor who dealt with my case had extensive knowledge of the DWP [Department of Work and Pensions] and the problems I face, which is something that surprised me and reassured me.”