People affected by the consequences of recent severe weather are to be offered support from Citizens Advice Bureaux, funded by a £250,000 grant from the government.
The outreach project will boost the numbers of Citizens Advice volunteers in flood-hit areas, helping to find temporary accommodation or helping people with complex issues like short-term finance, insurance claims, building works and employment rights.
Funding for the project has been made available by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Citizens Advice will work with the government to identify the areas in greatest need of additional support. Advice is already being provided in flood-hit areas, and this funding will ensure it can continue and extend as the weather worsens over the weekend.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:
The government is doing everything it can to help people through these unprecedented weather conditions. When I have spoken to people who are coping with these terrible floods, they tell me that one of the most helpful things for them would be a single place where they could get advice on the whole range of support available to them, from insurance claims to getting time off work. There is nobody better to provide this than Citizens Advice, and I am very pleased they have agreed to team up with the government to provide much needed support across the country in this time of need.
The volunteers will go right into the heart of flood-hit communities, doing whatever it takes to provide the valuable advice and support during this difficult time.
Consumer Affairs Minister Jenny Willott said:
This is a difficult time for everyone affected by storm damage or serious flooding and the government is determined to give people the support they need. Citizens Advice volunteers will give people practical help to overcome some of the challenges they face.
Volunteers have already been working with some of the worst affected communities and we want as many people as possible to be given the support they are offering.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
No organisation understands its local community better than a Citizens Advice Bureau. As neighbourhoods pick up the pieces from the recent dreadful impact of the storms, volunteers and advisers from Citizens Advice Bureaux are at the forefront of the recovery work.
News of flooding may soon ebb away from the front pages but Citizens Advice Bureaux have been embedded in communities for 75 years. This welcome boost will allow our army of volunteers to deliver vital support directly to people facing extreme stress and anxiety.
As we saw first-hand with the storms in 2007, flooding has enormous knock-on effects. Damage to homes creates upheaval, wrecked transport links prevent people getting to work and problems with insurance policies can lead to long-term financial stress. People bearing the brunt of flood damage need responsive, tailored support and I’m pleased government has recognised that Citizens Advice Bureaux are well-placed to deliver this help to shell-shocked communities.
Even after the water recedes, the impact of flooding can last for years. In the next few weeks we’ll deliver help to affected households to ensure they have the everyday essentials. In the coming months and years we’ll work with colleagues in government, the insurance industry, local authorities and community groups to help people put their lives back together.
Citizens Advice actions
Examples of Citizens Advice action to help the victims of floods include:
In Sedgemoor the Citizens Advice Bureau held an outreach event at a café where 60 people were sheltering, and kept local authorities updated to help link people with the support they needed.
After the 2012 floods, the Citizens Advice Bureau in Denbighshire set up an outreach rota of advisers and volunteers to help people affected. The Bureau continues to assist clients dealing with the longer-term impact of flooding from 2 years ago.
Notes to editors
Today, Thursday 13 February, the Deputy Prime Minister visited Cornwall to speak to local people, businesses, fishermen, volunteers, Environment Agency staff and local tourism experts to see and hear about the effects of recent flooding and bad weather. He was accompanied on the visit by DEFRA minister and local MP Dan Rogerson, and local MP Andrew George.
Media queries or interview requests should go to Bob Honey in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office on 020 7276 0432 or James Mole at Citizens Advice on 07824 095 489.