North Tyneside Citizens Advice has helped more than 19,000 people during the past year of the pandemic
The charity, which quickly adapted to help more people via the phone, email and webchat, says Universal Credit, Council Tax Arrears and Personal Independence Payment have been its top pandemic issues.
Between 1 March 2020 and 28 February this year, it has helped 6,987 people with benefits including Universal Credit, and 2,107 people with employment issues.
North Tyneside Citizens Advice has seen many worrying cases such as:
- A part-time worker who was wrongly told they were not eligible for furlough, and laid off instead
- A carer who was told to go into work when they were shielding
- An elderly person targeted by scam calls trying to sell them a fake Coronavirus test
Around 52% of people were helped over the phone, 28% via email, 2% via webchat. This compares to the year before when 20% of people were helped face-to-face.
Around 35 staff and volunteers have been working from their living rooms, dining tables and kitchens to make sure people could still access much-needed help.
Mark Almond, Chief Officer of North Tyneside Citizens Advice, said:
“I’d like to thank our staff and volunteers who’ve continued to help people find a way forward, as we face the problems of this pandemic together.
“Our advisers have been able to help people check what benefits they’re entitled to, navigate the furlough scheme, and ensure they’re getting all the help and support that is on offer.
“We know people are going to need our help as we begin on the road to recovery, and we urge anyone that needs some support to get in touch as soon as possible.”
For information and advice, contact North Tyneside Citizens Advice on 0300 3309 047