The COVID pandemic forced Citizens Advice Isle of Wight to rely on its telephone service for providing advice. With the provision of a Freephone service in October 2020, the local charity has helped over 5,000 Isle of Wight residents to get the advice they need.
As restrictions ease Citizens Advice Isle of Wight wants to make it even easier for the public to reach its advisers and is calling for the public to tell it how it can deliver its service.
Paul Savill, CEO, has said:
“We have been really effective in answering people’s enquiries during the COVID Lockdowns through our telephone service and online. We want to make sure that Island residents who may not be able to discuss their issues on the telephone or via the internet are not missed.
“As we come out of Lockdown we have a fantastic opportunity to review how we deliver our advice service. We want to improve the way we are providing advice for Isle of Wight residents, and we want help to understand what people need to be able to get that advice”.
During the pandemic, Citizens Advice Isle of Wight has seen a 10% rise in the number of people contacting its service for advice through its telephone and digital portals.
Sandy Belfitt, General Advice Service Delivery Manager, says:
“During the pandemic we have seen a change in the type of clients coming to us for advice. Prior to Lockdown the majority of clients were over the age of 55, and now 67% of our clients are under the age of 45. As a result of the pandemic people have become more comfortable using digital technology to obtain advice but we need to ensure we are available to everyone. Before lockdown we were able to offer advice at outreach community sessions across the island. As we re-open our face-to-face services we want to ensure that they are being delivered in the right places, where people need them most.”
The Citizens Advice Isle of Wight Survey is completely anonymous and can be completed either online at https://www.citizensadviceiw.org.uk/forms/your-views-on-our-services, by phone using freephone number 0800 144 8848 or via a paper form available by request.