West Lothian Citizens Advice Bureau is here to help in these uncertain times

By Debbie Hall

Anyone in West Lothian who is struggling and unsure of who to turn to is being urged to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

CAB offers free, impartial and confidential advice, information and guidance on a number of issues.

You can call or email for help and face-to-face appointments are available by appointment only.

The bureau also has various projects able to assist in particular areas including Pimap (Prevention and intervention money advice project), which helps pregnant women and families with young children, giving advice and support in areas of income maximisation, debt, housing and benefits and tailors advice to the family’s needs and circumstances.

There is also the Court Advice Project.

This gives support to clients regarding Simple Procedure claims (Small Claims), for those who wish to raise a claim and clients who have had a small claim action raised against them.

Outreach is also available in GP Surgeries.

The aim of the GP surgeries outreach is to bring the CAB service to patients in five GP surgeries in West Lothian (West Calder, Dedridge, Strathbrock, Carmondean, and Ashgrove, Blackburn), who may for various reasons, be unable to make their way to CAB in Craigshill, Livingston.

The outreach delivers all of the services and advice that may be delivered by the Livingston office, with the addition of potentially representing clients at benefit tribunals.

CAB also reaches out to HMP Addiewell to provide advice and support to inmates and works in partnership with other agencies to look at ways of reducing re-offending.

In Whitburn, CAB provides a locally-based income maximisation and financial inclusion service to the residents of Whitburn and surrounding area.

The Whitburn Project can be found within the town’s Community Development Trust, building at 61 West Main Street.

Members of the Armed Services can also benefit from an advice project that provides information, advice and support. The project works closely with many organisations and charities, both service related and others, to provide support to clients.

CAB staff can also help clients claim Universal Credit and the Money Talk Team can offer a financial health check.

CAB can help with a wide range of issues (Irvine Herald)

This project will identify any income maximisation issues that can be addressed such as applying for any benefits that may be available and also looking at possibilities for reducing expenditure.

It is essentially aimed at clients and families who may be struggling with money and as a result might be finding difficulty in heating their home, feeding them or their family or simply concerned about money.

Referrals to the projects can be made by contacting the bureau at the contact details above or the project phone line on 01506 444814.

CAB is also looking for people to become volunteers.

A spokesperson said: “There are a broad range of volunteering roles available within West Lothian Citizens Advice Bureau, so you can use your knowledge, skills and experience where it matters most.

“From adviser roles to behind-the-scenes support, we’ll let you choose where you think you’ll make the greatest impact.

“Volunteering is a fantastic way to stay active and involved in the local community. As a new member of our team, we know you’ll feel instantly at home. Let’s not forget the feel-good factor too!

“As well as making a big difference to people’s lives, you can also learn some valuable skills when volunteering with us. Some 42 per cent of Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers go on to further education or employment.

“As a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser, you’ll be part of the wider Scottish Citizens Advice network and will have access to ongoing training and development.”

If you’d like to volunteer with West Lothian Citizens Advice Bureau or want to find out more, email Louise.crozier@CABWestLothian.casonline.org.uk or call 07788183183.

To access CAB services call 01506 432977 Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 4.30pm, email enquiries@cabwestlothian.casonline.org.uk or text 07712 305764.

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