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<img class="alignleft wp-image-43" style="border: none;" title="Citizens Advice Bureau Logo" src="http://localhost:51792/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Citizens-Advice-Bureau-Logo-300x294.jpg" alt="" width="108" height="106" />
<h1 style="text-align: center;">WELCOME TO<img class="alignright wp-image-136" style="border: none;" title="Dumfries & Galloway Citizens Advice Service Logo" src="http://localhost:51792/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Dumfries-Galloway-Citizens-Advice-Service-Logo-300x155.jpg" alt="" width="180" height="93" />DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY CITIZENS ADVICE SERVICE</h1>
<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>PRESS RELEASE</strong>
<strong>Dumfries & Galloway Citizens Advice Service</strong>
<strong>31 January 2012</strong>
<strong>Media Contact: 01387 266193</strong>
<strong>D&G CITIZENS ADVICE SERVICE Â£12million SUPPORT FOR THE REGIONâ€™S ECONOMY</strong></p>
Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service brought a record Â£12million into the regionâ€™s economy last year through the hard work of skilled staff and volunteer advisers.
The money amounted to Â£11,748,787.15 and benefitted every corner of the region. It came in the form of compensation, with-held wages, unclaimed benefits, etc. and is all money that the people were entitled to but would not have received without the help of the Citizens Advice Service. The money has provided a welcome boost to the local economy at a time when many businesses are struggling and has helped thousands of local families avoid debt, homelessness or bankruptcy.
Revealing the figures today (Tuesday) D&G CAS Chief Executive Sue Irving said,
<blockquote>We have published a lot of bad news stories recently showing how many people are unemployed, how many are in debt etc. Itâ€™s nice for a change to tell a more positive story. With so many people struggling financially itâ€™s important to let them know that real practical help is available. And itâ€™s also important that people see how valuable D&G CAS is to the regionâ€™s economy and communities.</blockquote>
<blockquote>When people come to us with financial problems we look at every possible thing we can do to help them. Often we can negotiate with their creditors to freeze their debt or reduce their re-payments. But in some cases we can actually help them get additional income â€“ e.g. it may be we can identify a benefit they are entitled to but didnâ€™t know about. Or maybe we can help them get compensation. In some cases it can be as much as thousands of pounds. In others itâ€™s a smaller amount. But letâ€™s face it, in these troubled times every penny counts.</blockquote>
<blockquote>Itâ€™s really gratifying to be able to help people in this way. People are often really desperate when they come to us. Sometimes even in tears. The look on their faces when you tell them youâ€™ve found them some new source of income - perhaps a lump sum, or maybe a weekly regular benefit payment they can rely on â€“ is terrific.</blockquote>
<blockquote>Itâ€™s important to say that this is not charity. Weâ€™re talking here about money that these people are fully entitled to but for some reason havenâ€™t received. Our expertise can identify it and unlock it for them, and of course the beauty of it is that they can then spend it in local shops and businesses â€“ which helps the Dumfries and Galloway economy overall.</blockquote>
Sue Irving also reveals that all areas of the region have benefitted economically from the work of D&G CAS (note 2 below) demonstrating that the Citizens Advice Service truly is at the heart of all our communities. And value for money is vitally important. Sue said,
<blockquote>Often people arenâ€™t aware of our work, for example the support we provide for people whose lives are affected by cancer. Last year we helped people with cancer to benefit by almost Â£1million and people tell us that helping to address the financial burden of their illness is a huge relief. This is great value for money as for each Â£1 spent on this service Â£28 is generated for the local economy, a tremendous return on investment and a massive support during a very difficult time for individuals and their families.</blockquote>
Susan McPhee, the Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, of which D&G CAS is a member, said,
<blockquote>D&G Citizens Advice Service is rightly very proud of what their advisers managed to achieve last year. Not only have they helped local people to get control of their finances, but in many cases they have actually put money into their pockets.</blockquote>
<blockquote>And there is no doubt that it is necessary. Last week we saw four big nationwide reports which all showed how people are struggling financially. First, Aviva showed that the average family debt had risen by 48% over the last year. Then the Annual â€˜Cost of a Childâ€™ report by LV= showed that the cost of raising a child in Scotland has risen by 3.3%, and that over three quarters of parents have cut back in family spending. Meanwhile, Asdaâ€™s Income Tracker showed that Scottish families were Â£15 a week worse off last month than they were a year earlier. And on the same day government figures showed there were 4,664 cases of bankruptcy in Scotland in the last three months (a 2% increase on the same period last year).</blockquote>
<blockquote>The saddest thing about these figures was that they didnâ€™t come as a shock to anyone. Our advisers see the human reality of such cases every day at CAB offices across the country â€“ not least those in Dumfries, Annan, Castle Douglas and Stranraer. Itâ€™s very sobering to look into the eyes of people who are so desperate that they canâ€™t afford to feed and clothe their children, and are having to make decisions about whether to heat their home or put food on the table. Itâ€™s very important to make people aware of how we can help them.</blockquote>
For more information, interviews etc. please contact Sue Irving, Chief Executive, on 01387 266193
Notes to editors
1. D&G CAS is the only advice organisation in Dumfries & Galloway which has been accredited to the Scottish Governmentâ€™s National Standards for Advice and Information at Type 3, the highest level available, which ensures the quality of advice provided. It has CAB offices in Dumfries, Annan, Stranraer and Castle Douglas and outreach clinics in Sanquhar, Langholm, Dalbeattie, Wigtown, Newton Stewart, Kelloholm and Dumfries Hospital. In addition the service has specialist teams on housing, money advice, benefits including a specialist service for people affected by cancer, in court advice and representation and the Independent Advice and Support Service.
2. The D&G CAS economic impact for 2011 can be seen in each of the local Council wards in the Dumfries & Galloway region, as follow.
Ward 1 Stranraer and North Rhins â€“ Â£911,331.28
Ward 2 Wigtown West â€“ Â£583,446.06
Ward 3 Mid Galloway â€“ Â£2,769,065.23
Ward 4 Dee â€“ Â£451,978.38
Ward 5 Castle Douglas and Glenkens â€“ Â£470,988.98
Ward 6 Abbey â€“ Â£564,201.02
Ward 7 North West Dumfries â€“ Â£843,737.12
Ward 8 Mid and Upper Nithsdale â€“ Â£1,029,515.69
Ward 9 Lochar â€“ Â£413,488.81
Ward 10 Nith â€“ Â£841,047.18
Ward 11 Annandale South â€“ Â£892,320.29
Ward 12 Annandale North â€“ Â£735,937.72
Ward 13 Annandale East and Eskdale â€“ Â£822,328.49
The balance of Â£419,400.90 was not allocated to specific Wards.
3. The D&G CAS cancer service is currently funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council through the Fairer Scotland Fund. It was previously funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.
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