May 25, 2022

May Advice Column

We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid & West Devon we provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. Here is an example of the kind of questions we are being asked and the advice we give in response.

“I am a single parent, with two young children. I am already struggling to stay on top of my household bills; my weekly food shop isn’t stretching as far anymore and now my energy bill is going up too. I don’t know how I’m going to afford all of these price rises. What can I do to stop my finances spiralling out of control?”

This will resonate with many people – especially currently. Here is our response.

Firstly, you are not alone in this and there’s support to help you. It’s worth checking if there are benefits you don’t know about that you’re eligible for, including support with your energy and living costs. On the Citizens Advice website there’s a benefits calculator, advice on how to reduce living costs and information on other ways to increase your income. There’s also emergency support that you may have access to, like food bank vouchers or fuel vouchers. You could contact your local council to see if they could offer support. If you’re struggling to stay on top of bills, it’s really important to understand what money you have coming in and going out each month. Citizens Advice has a budgeting tool on its website to help with this. And if you’re already behind on bills, prioritise paying your rent or mortgage, plus energy bills and Council Tax first. Not paying these bills has serious consequences. You should speak to the person or company you owe money to, to see if they can help you repay your bills sustainably. We know that times are incredibly tough but please remember, you don’t have to face this alone, do contact us at CA TNMWD to help you find a way forward.

To contact Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid & West Devon:-

  • Call our free, local Adviceline on 0808 27 87 99
  • Email us on advice@citizensadvicetnmwd.org.uk
  • Visit www.ruraldevoncab.org.uk click on ‘get advice’ for advice and webchat

How about becoming a volunteer? Volunteering with us is interesting and rewarding. We provide full and comprehensive training so why not contact recruitment@ruraldevoncab.org.uk for more information?