A BIG rise in the number of Winsford residents facing debt and benefit problems has been reported by a local charity.

More people are turning to Citizens Advice Cheshire West in Winsford with money related difficulties in its 80th year of service compared to last year.

Practical help and advice was given in face-to-face consultations and through email, phone and webchat.

Problems with benefits and universal credit went up 33 per cent as 788 claimants sought help.

Individuals and families struggling with debt rose by 56 per cent as 390 people asked for advice.

Financial service and money management problems shot up by a staggering 260 per cent with 1,393 residents requiring intervention.

Half the people the charity helped in Winsford reported suffering from a long term health condition or disability.

In the past year Citizens Advice generated £2.54 million in savings to government and public services. This was achieved by helping to stop problems occurring or escalating, which reduces pressure on public services like health, housing or out-of-work benefits.

The charity also achieved £14.92 million in wider economic and social benefits by solving problems that improves lives through better wellbeing, productivity and participation for the people we help.

An average of £16.70 is generated for every £1 invested by funders.

Citizens Advice is celebrated 80 years of service in September.

Chief officer Paul Nicholls, said: “We are incredibly proud to mark 80 years of providing free, independent and confidential advice for people across England and Wales."

The charity was formed at the outbreak of the Second World War and originally helped people deal with the impacts of the war, including rationing, evacuation and losing a home in the blitz.

In its 80 years of service, the organisation has helped the British public find a way forward with a huge range of problems.

Across England and Wales, Citizens Advice helped 100,000 more people this year compared to last year, with a total of 2.7 million people helped by the charity and its network.

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Mr Nicholls added: “Locally, we are committed to helping as many people as we can so they can find the knowledge and confidence they need to move forward, whoever they are and whatever their problem.

“To help us to continue to provide this vital service we are looking to recruit a large number of volunteers to meet the growing demand on our resources. We train our volunteers to a nationally-recognised standard and fully support them continually during through their time with us.

“Alongside the training many people already possess some of the invaluable skills needed to help our local community.

"Volunteering with Citizens Advice can be a challenging yet rewarding experience, learning new things and meeting new people and being part of a great team are just some of the positive feedback we receive from our volunteers.

“We ask for an initial commitment of two days per week then this can be flexible the more experienced volunteers become.”

"If any local people want to help, we have volunteer roles such as advisers, receptionists, telephone assessors, trustees or any other roles we offer then please call and have a chat to our recruitment and support officer."

Anyone who wishes to volunteer can call Mark Halford on 01606 596376, 07732 604259 or email mark.halford@citizensadvicecw.org.uk."

Alternatively people can visit citizensadvicecw.org.uk/ and click on volunteering.