Life is complicated – and Citizens Advice Portsmouth is here to help. They are part of a network of charities providing free and confidential advice in person, on the telephone or on-line. People rely on them because they are independent and totally impartial.
Citizens Advice Portsmouth started operation on 4th September 1939 (the day after World War II was declared) and was one of the initial 200 Citizen Advice locations set up. At the beginning, volunteers ran the service from public buildings and private houses. Advisors dealt with issues such as loss of ration books, homelessness and evacuation. Debt soon became a big issue due to reduced household income as men were called up to fight. After the war, the service saw an influx of enquiries around family problems caused by the stresses of conflict – including increasing divorce rates and family breakup. Since that time they have continued to support those most in need and, as you might imagine, have seen a dramatic increase in the number of clients asking for their help since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year alone, they have helped approximately 7,400 clients with 25,000 issues!
Citizens Advice Portsmouth’s Trustees play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work. It is therefore important that the Trustee Board is representative of the diversity in our city. It is for that reason that they are delighted to welcome two new ‘younger’ Trustees, Emily Dumelow and Megan Wade.
Having started her career as an apprentice in the arts industry, Emily found her love for training and work-place development. Moving into the training sector, she now works on the Apprenticeship team for a local Education provider, supporting businesses with skills development and identifying opportunities for young people.
Emily said “I am excited to join Citizens Advice Portsmouth as they continue to grow from strength to strength. I hope my knowledge and experiences can support the charity to reach a wider audience, whilst maintaining the fantastic service they already provide.”
Megan recently graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a law degree – a COVID graduate! Whilst working part-time, she is now concentrating on building her legal skills and experience before embarking on the Legal Practise Course needed to become a solicitor.
Megan said “I am so pleased to now be a part of the brilliant team that is Citizens Advice – to be able to assist the team in helping people in my community is a privilege. Having witnessed and experienced the support on offer to my peers and I at university, I can appreciate just how important the service is to the people of Portsmouth.”