A YEAR’S worth of clients in just 12 weeks – that’s what the coronavirus pandemic has done to a help centre for Wokingham borough residents.
Citizens Advice Wokingham says that it has helped more residents during the pandemic than it normally does in a year.
Since March, the charity has partnered with Wokingham Borough Council and local charities to respond to the Covid-19 41crisis and has supported 2,257 people in that time.
Chief executive of Citizens Advice Wokingham, Jake Morrison said: “When the pandemic hit we decided to launch our One Front Door scheme which brought together all local organisations needed to pull our community through this crisis.
“Our team of 87 volunteers and 10 part-time staff have worked tirelessly over the past 12 weeks to deliver the guidance and aid that people need during this uncertain and difficult time.”
The One Front Door initiative links residents with the right level of support needed for their situation, whether that be local food banks, mental health support groups or charities including First Days, Involve and Age UK.
And the organisation has seen a huge change in not only the number of residents seeking help, but the demographic of its clients.
Mr Morrison said: “The pandemic has caused a rise in those seeking help with issues such as self-employment, benefits, homelessness, debt and family tension.
“We have dealt with some very challenging cases but technology has kept the team together.”
He added: “When I began my role as chief executive my goal was to create a resilience organisation.
“The resilience this team has shown throughout the pandemic is incredible.
“The time and effort that they have put in despite having to work from home is inspirational and I am exceptionally proud of them.”