Citizens Advice Cornwall is launching an appeal for businesses to support the charity’s expansion to meet growing need in the county as the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite.
More than 9,000 people sought the organisation’s help last year and this number is rapidly growing as rising energy and fuel prices, increasing rents and National Insurance contributions are affecting more people.
Citizens Advice Cornwall chief executive, Gill Pipkin, said: “We are facing a surge of inquiries from people desperately looking for ways to make ends meet and we urgently need support from Cornwall’s business community to expand to meet demand.
“Although we receive grants for some of our work, we have to look for new income to grow the service and prevent more people become homeless and sinking further into debt.”
Citizens Advice Cornwall provides free, confidential and independent advice to everyone in the community and covers a wide range of issues including debt, benefits, employment, discrimination, housing and relationship breakdowns.
The charity relies on over 100 volunteers across the county who offer a mix of face-to-face and phone advice, supported by a team of professional staff.
Last year, the charity helped people gain a total of £5.3 million in income and write-off £1.8 million in debt.
For every pound invested in the charity, it generated £2.35 in savings to public services, amounting to £3.3 million – a major boost to the local economy.
According to client surveys, 96% of people who came to Citizens Advice Cornwall said they had a positive or very positive experience and 93% would recommend the charity to others.
CA Cornwall community fundraising officer, Tamsin Chapman Gunner, added: “We want to reach out to businesses in Cornwall and see what help might be available. This could take the form of donations, sponsorship, payroll giving or volunteering.
“An hour-long advice session costs £25, while £150 would pay for our phone system for a month and £600 would pay for a laptop for an adviser.”
The charity is also organising a fundraising ball at the Penventon Hotel in Redruth in September – further details will be announced later this year.