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09:00AM, Sunday 14 January 2018
Cash from the Louis Baylis Trust helped provide legal advice for 500 ‘desperate’ people in Maidenhead last year.
The assistance from Maidenhead Citizens Advice was possible thanks to the £25,000 it receives from the trust every year.
From a set of offices at its base in Marlow Road, its staff of volunteers provide advice on dealing with everything from debt to housing and employment problems and benefits, particularly issues with controversial Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments.
And, when needed, they can even carry out home visits to anyone unable to make it to the centre.
“It does vary, but most people come to us when they’re desperate,” said Chris O’Hare, who has been chief executive of the Maidenhead branch for about five-and-a-half years.
“Someone came to us last week when the bailiffs had left them a note.
“We’re dealing with people who often, for whatever reason, often relating to mental health issues, haven’t opened letters.
“But the service is open to everyone.
“One of the things we often deal with too is people getting divorced or separated who are then faced with nowhere to live.”
She added that without the trust’s money the service could be forced to close for one day during the week and might even have to stop its home visits, often used by people receiving end-of-life care, entirely.
And there is clearly a need for the advice, with 4,144 people requesting help in 2016/17, a spike of 65 per cent on the previous year.
This saw 27 tribunals won, 1,600 food vouchers issued and, according to figures collated by the Citizens Advice Bureau national office, was worth £314,493, in terms of money recouped by those using the service.
Click here to find out more abut the Louis Baylis Trust and how to apply for a grant.
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