REGULAR readers of Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon community columns will know that we help people with a vast array of problems.

Many are finance related, especially since the increase in the cost of living has impacted on households across the area.

People by and large do not know what benefits or financial assistance is available that they may be able to claim and even if they think they may be able to get help, they often don’t know how to go about applying for it or are simply too proud to ask.

Quite often, eligibility for certain benefits opens the door to other assistance and in today’s world, the problems that people present to us are becoming increasingly complex. 

We have specialist teams to advise on things like debt and energy as well as help that is available to people with special needs such as people with cancer or other life limiting illnesses.

We can help with housing problems and social needs and if we can’t provide the help that is needed, we can refer people to other organisations that are more specialised in particular areas. 

In our articles we have talked about shoddy workmanship, rights that people have when holidays don’t measure up, employment issues and what to be aware of when buying a car. We are here to listen and give free, impartial advice to anyone who needs it. 

For us, the start of a new financial year is a time to reflect on what we have achieved in the previous financial year in terms of the numbers of people we have helped, the problems we have advised on and the impact that has had. We are continually striving to improve our efficiencies and find more ways to help more people. This year we introduced a new email advice service for instance, and we are looking at ways to make getting advice more accessible, for example, by making more information available on our website. 

We also understand that not everyone is computer savvy and sometimes people just want to be able to talk to somebody on the telephone or in person which is why we have an ongoing recruitment and training programme to grow our volunteer numbers.

All our volunteers get full training and ongoing support and volunteering with us can lead to paid employment opportunities.

You don’t need to be an expert in any particular field, you just need to care and have a willingness to listen; our training and support will see you through the rest. 

If meeting new people and helping within our local community appeals to you, please contact: 

For free, confidential, independent and impartial advice call Citizens Advice local (freephone) Adviceline: 0808 27 87 999.

If you need help with bills mounting up and are worried about debt, please go here: .

If you are unsure that you are getting the correct benefits, please go to: https:/  or visit: .

Rosanna Teale

CEO and Trustee Support Officer

Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon