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Citizens Advice will provide free, tailored and confidential financial advice and information, thanks to a new contract with Stevenage Borough Council.

The information and advice will include specialist housing guidance, and will be impartial and accessible to all Stevenage residents. The service will add social value to the town and its residents through an increase uptake of benefits and other awards, making users aware of all of the life choices available to them and reducing hardship.

Citizens Advice will also benefit the voluntary and public sectors through tackling issues of social exclusions for residents. The contract also covers the requirement for specialist support and advice through two specialist workers.

The contract is for an initial period of three years, and will begin on 1 April 2021.

Councillor Jackie Hollywell, Executive Member for Communities, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “We know that finances can be confusing and it’s sometimes difficult to know the help available to you, but our partnership with Citizens Advice Stevenage will provide tailored advice and support to ensure residents are equipped with the knowledge they need to make the best financial decisions for them.”

Councillor Rob Broom, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operative Working, added: “Citizens Advice Stevenage has provided a similar service for the past five years, but the new contract has been streamlined to be more efficient and cost effective, and meet the council’s corporate priorities of community wealth building, social inclusion and co-operative neighbourhoods.”

Citizens Advice Stevenage, Chief Executive Officer Charlotte Blizzard Welch concluded: “I am delighted that we will continue providing essential support to our community. Citizens Advice Stevenage gives people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem.

“We give confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. Whether you have a quick question or a complex problem we will support you to move forward. Partnership working is so important to us, and if you need support from other agencies as well as us, we can facilitate referrals to ensure the best outcome to resolve your problem.

“When we say we’re for everyone, we mean it. People rely on us because we’re independent and totally impartial.

“In the current climate it’s even more vital our service is there to support Stevenage. Some people in our community have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis and have been unable to afford basics like food and fuel. Stevenage Borough Council re-commissioning our service means we can support our town to recover from the pandemic and return stronger.

“I would like to thank Stevenage Borough Council and their teams for their continued support and partnership and look forward to developing support services for the town”

For more information, visit the Stevenage CAB website

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