During National Volunteers Week 2022 we’ve been celebrating the fantastic work and contributions of the many volunteers who work with us at Citizens Advice Gwynedd, and the positive impacts they’ve made in the local community.
As part of these celebrations we nominated our volunteers for a National Appreciation Certificate, and we are delighted to share their success in receiving these awards.
Godfrey Northam has been recognised for his outstanding dedication and loyalty in over 26 years of service, which has continued throughout the Covid pandemic. Godfrey has been a valued volunteer adviser, and has also represented all volunteers on our Trustee Board.
Dafydd Lewis was also able to accept a group award on behalf of all our volunteers who have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Through the difficult and challenging turmoil of the last two years, the dedication and desire of all of our volunteers to make a difference to the many people who sought advice has been invaluable.
Our volunteers continue to make an immeasurable difference to the lives of people who come to Citizens Advice for help – thank you to each and every one of you!
This is National Volunteers Week and we would like to thank our volunteers for their help so far this year. In 2022 they have already supported 480 clients!
Our volunteers support clients remotely and also from our offices in Caernarfon, Dolgellau, Bangor and Pwllheli. They help our local community over the phone, via email and face-to-face. They deal with a whole host of different issues and help clients to gain an understanding of their options and support them in making choices.
One of our supervisors had this to say about one of our dedicated volunteers:
“XXX is a dedicated volunteer, who even during the pandemic would call and check whether I was fit and well. He has been a volunteer for several years and I and the other staff greatly appreciate his refreshing humour and his continued loyalty in advising the local community.”
Our volunteers are dedicated, compassionate and empathetic. They make a difference to clients’ lives each and every day. We thank them all for their dedication and support, from all of us at Gwynedd Citizens Advice.
The number of people on Universal Credit in Gwynedd has more than doubled since March last year to 8,712. We are concerned that in three months’ time the UK Government intends to end the £20 per week uplift in both Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit. This has made a real difference to families who are struggling and removing it could take over £8m out of the local economy, or more if claims go up which is all the more likely if the furlough scheme comes to an end before the economy is fully able to reopen.
We have written to Liz Saville Roberts and Hywel Williams urging them to make representations to the Chancellor to keep the uplift.
Although times are hard for many of us, help is available. We are working closely with the various foodbanks in Gwynedd: we refer clients in desperate need to them and they refer clients to us so that we can help them with their underlying problems. Arfon and South Gwynedd Foodbanks have secured additional funding so we can ensure advisers are immediately available when needed. We are also working with colleagues across North Wales to provide advice on maximising income to people with mental health problems or at risk of developing mental health problems. The Welsh Government has provided additional funding to help us do this. If you know anyone who might benefit from this you can refer them using this link wherever in North Wales they live: cabgwynedd.wales/incomemax
Among all the activity arising from the current COVID-19 crisis, young people have been somewhat overlooked. During this period of self-isolation their relationships, as with most people, will be changing. Welsh Women’s Aid have developed a quiz to help young people in their teenage years to see if their relationship is healthy as well as providing information and advice in relation to the following:
Key Ingredients of a Healthy Relationship – Safety, Trust and Respect
Online Relationships – Consent and Keeping Safe
Living with Domestic Abuse or in an unhealthy relationship
Coping with past abuse in a period of self-isolation
Checking Up or Checking In – care or control – information for teenagers who may be perpetrating abuse
For more information and access to the quiz please click here
CAB Gwynedd are readily available to provide advice and assistance during this difficult time.
Click hereand you will see the different options that are available for you to receive advice and assistance from us.
For local information on the services that are available to help you whilst self-isolating, please see Gwynedd Council’s website, which is updated daily. You can click here to go to the relevant page.
There is also a Directoryavailable with information on the volunteers and businesses that are available in your area who can help you, in particular those who can provide food delivery and an essential shopping service.
There is a clear scientific consensus that the world faces a climate emergency. This emergency has the clear potential to adversely effect the living conditions, health and general well-being of the residents of Gwynedd and therefore goes to the heart of our charitable objectives.
It is therefore appropriate for us to publicise this emergency so that individuals and organisations are aware of the importance of taking action and take what steps we can to minimise the carbon footprint of the charity itself.
Citizens Advice Gwynedd were joined by Welsh Government Deputy Minister, Jane Hutt, to celebrate the charity being awarded funding by the Welsh Government to provide advice services.
The charity in Wales
will receive £8.1 million to provide services across all regions in Wales, as
well as a remote advice service. It comes after Welsh Government changed the
way they commission advice services in Wales, with organisations having to bid
to provide the Single Advice Fund.
The commitment of
future funding comes as the organisation marks its 80th year. Citizens Advice
was formed on the onset of World War II on 4 September 1939. It originally
helped people deal with the impacts of war, such as rationing and evacuation,
and additional support for farming communities.
In the year to 30
September 2019, Citizens Advice helped nearly 12,500 people in Gwynedd and
nearly 100,000 people in Wales with Personal Independence Payment, Universal
Credit and council tax debt being some of the top issues the charity provided
Tal Michael, Chief
Executive of Citizens Advice Gwynedd, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome the Deputy Minister here to Pwllheli to see our services first hand. Access to good advice is vital for everyone. We’re really proud to have secured this funding.
“There’s a huge
demand for our independent and impartial advice as people face ever
increasingly complex issues in their lives.
“We’re keen to now
put this funding into action and provide advice to anyone in Gwynedd who needs
it, whatever their problem.”