CAB helps claim more than £330k

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STOWMARKET Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) helped clients claim more than £330,000 in welfare benefits last year.

The organisation, which held its annual general meeting on Friday, also won more than £134,000 at employment tribunals – twice the amount gained last year.

The bureau helped some 3,000 clients, involving more than 16,000 contracts.

Speaking at the meeting, bureau manager Carol Eagles said one woman, with three children, was £13,575 per year better off by working just two hours more a week.

Carol said with the bureau busier than ever before, the work of its volunteers was crucial.

She said: “We would not have been able to achieve these fantastic outcomes for our clients without the hard work of out team of staff and volunteers.

“We currently have over 60 volunteers who give their time and energy freely to the bureau.

“Citizens advice has calculated that the economic value of volunteering at Mid Suffolk CAB last year was £320,000.”

Ellie Robertshaw, advice session supervisor at the bureau, said there had been an increase in the bureau’s workload over the past year.

She said: “The reason our figures are so high is we have more people coming in for help, and our clients are coming in with much more complex issues which require much more involvement.

“One of the biggest areas we have been working on is benefit and income maximisation.

“It is about making sure people are getting all the benefits they can get. Most of our clients are local people and they don’t tend to go very far from the town.

“They spend their money locally so it is good for the local economy.”