The newly elected Hitchin MP Bim Afolami visited the Hitchin office of North Herts Citizens Advice last Friday to discuss the big issues facing local people.
He met a few of the staff and volunteers helping local people to overcome problems ranging from housing to employment.
CANH offers free impartial advice in Hitchin from their office located on the first floor of Thomas Bellamy House in Bedford Road (next to Waitrose) every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 9.30am – 12noon
During 2016/17, Citizens Advice North Herts helped more than 5,700 with 9,500 issues. Two in every three people who sought advice from the local charity say that their problem was resolved, and four in five said advice improved their lives, such as reducing stress and improving finances. 78% of clients said that they couldn’t have solved their problem without us and 99% said they would recommend our local service.
The most common issues which local residents have sought help for are benefits, debt, housing and employment.
Bim Afolami met with chief executive Rionach Aiken together with volunteers & staff members to find out more about the service and issues facing local people. CANH is able to deal with most issues – such as problem debt, consumer issues and negotiating changes to benefit eligibility. They provide the advice people need for the problems they face and also have a Research & Campaigns team which works to improve the policies and practices that affect lives.
Bim said: “CANH do a fantastic job for local people. They are a vital resource across a whole range of areas, such as benefits, debt, housing, law, immigration and much more besides. I am committed to supporting them, and helping them increase their resources from different sources. I was particularly struck by the quality of the volunteers and paid staff; they are an asset to CANH and to the whole of North Hertfordshire.”
Rionach Aiken said: “Through our daily interaction with clients, we understand local needs and trends. We were pleased to welcome Bim Afolami to share our experiences first-hand. Demand for our service is increasing: over the last 2 years we helped 25% more people and answered 85% more advice calls. It’s vital that we’re here to provide free advice to help people get back on their feet. We look forward to working with Bim Afolami so that we can maintain our service during these challenging times for charities.”