MORE than £2million in financial support has been secured for Wee County residents by a life-line advice service over the past year.

Staff and volunteers at Clackmannanshire Citizens Advice Bureau secured £2.17m for clients that would otherwise have gone unclaimed by residents in the year to September 30, 2022.

The figure was revealed at Clacks CAB's annual general meeting last Wednesday, November 16, where chiefs praised staff and volunteers for their drive and determination doing what can be a very difficult task.

The past 12 months marked a transitional year bookended by the easing of some Covid-19 restrictions last autumn and the onslaught of the cost of living crisis.

In that time the bureau helped more than 5,000 people with almost 33,000 issues.

Circumstances have been rapidly changing amid an economic turmoil with 28 staff and 18 volunteers coming to the aid of people struggling with complex issues ranging from challenging DWP decisions to grappling with rising energy costs and managing debt.

Alex Muirhead, Clacks CAB chairperson, said: “As we reflect on the past year, we have much to be proud of, especially against a backdrop of rapid change and uncertainty where we have continued to be a stable source of advice and reassurance.”

Clacks CAB, which has been operating in the area since 1967, runs both a general advice service and multiple projects to meet specific needs in the community.

During the year, it ran 19 projects with funding from Clackmannanshire Council, the Energy Saving Trust, The Henry Smith Charity and Ochil View Housing Association, among others.

Since restrictions eased, the bureau has been bringing back its outreach service, delivering advice in the heart of communities such as Alloa, Alva, Clackmannan and Tullibody.

Johnny Miller, managing director, is predicting another challenging year ahead with the cost of living crisis resulting in a broader demographic presenting for help.

He said: “We have been seeing rising debt in middle-income households for a while and sadly this is likely to continue.

“Our challenge is how we respond to this demand.

“We have spent a significant part of the last year ensuring staff and volunteers are upskilled in areas of advice where demand is increasing.

“Even in these uncertain times, preventative and education work continues and we are contributing to tackling poverty through our membership of the Tacking Poverty Partnership.”

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