Citizens Advice Taunton are opening a new service for young people. Young Citizens Advice Taunton will reach out to young people and improve their access to free advice services.
This will complement pastoral support provided in schools and colleges and ensure that young people are aware of its free, reliable, confidential and non-judgemental advice.
‘YCAT’ will use the experience of Citizens Advice and the expertise of partner youth agencies to address the needs and concerns of young people in our area.
Citizens Advice Taunton will be able to share its learning, and potentially encourage other local Citizens Advice to launch similar projects tailored to young people elsewhere in the country.
Chief Officer Jon Shoesmith of Citizens Advice Taunton said: “We’re delighted to receive this award through the Martin Lewis Fund. This grant gives us the opportunity to run a project we have already tested with young people through Somerset-wide surveys, interviews with local young people, and consultations with a range of key statutory and voluntary agencies. Our research showed that vulnerable and anxious young people in Taunton Deane can find it extremely difficult to access appropriate and timely advice to deal with their worries. The project will focus on providing the help and support our young people need.”
The launch of this project is thanks to a £25,000 award from the Martin Lewis Fund which will help Citizens Advice Taunton make a real difference to young people’s lives.
Martin Lewis said: “Few realise Citizens Advice, which is at the bedrock of British society, is a charity not a government agency – a shame as the work it does is truly life saving. I’ve met many people who were suicidal over legal or money life challenges they couldn’t cope with, yet a visit to their local Citizens Advice put them on the path to dealing with it. As a huge fan of the organisation, I wanted to do something to help it pioneer new ways to reach out and improve people’s lives, and I’m excited to see where this takes us.”
Citizens Advice Taunton is one of 25 local services across England and Wales to receive £25,000. The funding follows an initial award of £1,000 in September 2016 to test initial project ideas.
The funding comes from a £1 million donation from Martin Lewis to Citizens Advice across the UK in 2015.
Projects had to fit into categories including making people more digitally skilled, working closely with health and social care providers, and future opportunities for volunteers.