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Recession takes its toll on our citizens

HARD-working volunteers at Solihull’s Citizens Advice Bureau helped over 5,500 people last year - pumping an estimated £780,000 back into the local economy in the process.

HARD-working volunteers at Solihull’s Citizens Advice Bureau helped over 5,500 people last year - pumping an estimated £780,000 back into the local economy in the process.

That’s the amount in benefits, credits and pay they won for the people who’d approached them for help.

However centre manager Karen Marks has warned that’s it’s not all good news, as the recession continues to take its toll on the local population.

“What we are just beginning to see now is the long term impact of the recession on those people affected by it early on,” she said.

“These are people who were initially quite upbeat about finding another job but who now have lost hope - so in many respects the worst is still to come.

“Others have never lived through a recession before and are struggling to cope with unemployment, mortgage repayments and benefits. The social costs are truly scary.”

She was speaking at the 30th anniversary annual general meeting of Solihull CAB, an organisation which started 70 years ago as the Second World War broke out but which was born in Solihull during the recession of the first Thatcher years in 1979.

It was an opportunity to trumpet its successes, like the organisation’s incredible value for money - for every pound of council grant it receives it returns £10 to the local community - as well as voice fears for the future of its funding.

The CAB is reliant totally on grants and donations, like the £20,000, two-year grant it received from Lloyds TSB which is uses for its highly effective home visit service but which runs out this financial year, as well as cash from ordinary citizens.

“Funding has always been difficult and it’s getting tougher,” said Karen, “money is short and funds are targeted, but I worry because with this recession we are seeing people who are really struggling.”

 

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