Surge in requests to Citizens Advice for information as people in Atherstone ‘process news’ on coronavirus

  Posted: 24.03.20 at 17:53 by Nick Hudson

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DAILY Government announcements on coronavirus has sent a spike in the number of worried residents in Atherstone and district reaching out to Citizens Advice for reassurance, it has emerged.

The Atherstone-based office of the national charity says it has seen a “surge” in requests for information as people process news on the Covid-19 virus.

Clients’ top issues issues have included benefits, rights at work, sick pay, and accessing Universal Credit, the North Warwickshire Citizens Advice added.

The increase comes as the NWCA has had to make emergency changes and suspend all face-to-face services “for the foreseeable future” to comply with the latest government measures to slow the spread of the pandemic.

NWCA chief executive officer Catherine Johnson told Nub News: “We are here to give people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward in these difficult times.

“You can find frequently updated advice on a range of issues related to the Covid-19 outbreak at citizensadvice.org.uk/coronavirus.

“We have seen an increase in coronavirus enquiries with a surge in requests for information as people process the government’s daily announcements.”

She said although there are no face-to-face services, staff are continuing to offer “much needed” assistance and support over the telephone on the adviceline – and people looking for advice can also chat to an adviser online at the Citizens Advice website

However, the Welcome Street charity points to a number of ways that people can still get help during this time of crisis

General advice such as, benefits (including Universal Credit/Help to Claim); employment queries (including rights at work; sick pay); access to emergency support such as foodbanks, will continue to be given via its Adviceline.

This can be reached by calling: 0300 330 1193 and is available Monday to Friday, from 10am to 2pm.

To cover the drop-in sessions, people can also speak to an adviser by ringing: 01827 712852, Monday Friday, from 10m to 1pm.

Out of these hours, people can access the national Citizens Advice service for general advice, such as debt and benefits:
● By calling Adviceline on 03444 111 444 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm);;
● By chatting online to an advisor by visiting Citizens Advice website at citizensadvice.org.uk/contact-us;
● Advice on consumer issues can be accessed by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or by chatting online to an Advisor on Citizens Advice website; or.
● Anyone seeking to make a new claim for Universal Credit should call the Universal Credit Help to Claim line on 0800 1448444.

All this comes at a time when nationally Citizens Advice says last week was the busiest ever for its website, with over 2.2 million views.

The charity said it has seen record-breaking demand for advice since the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, with the highest daily number of visitors to its website being topped four times last week.

The number of page views across last week was up by 50 per cent compared with the same time last year.

Page view numbers in a single day peaked on Thursday, March 19 at 390,000 – a 70 per cent increase on the previous Thursday which was already higher than usual.

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