Breckland Council and the Citizens Advice charities in Norfolk are to expand their partnership to provide integrated debt and welfare advice services in Thetford and Dereham.

The enhanced service will operate Monday to Friday from Breckland Council offices in the two towns and will include advice on benefit entitlement, assistance with applications and comprehensive financial assessments to help people get out of debt.

This announcement marks an historic development in the existing relationship between Breckland, Norfolk Citizens Advice and Diss, Thetford & District Citizens Advice, providing a Financial Conduct Authority regulated and wholly independent advice service alongside council services, creating a one-stop-shop in Dereham and Thetford.

Mark Hitchcock, Chief Executive Officer for Norfolk Citizens Advice, commented: “This new service brings sectors together to support health and wellbeing in a truly collaborative way. The first arrangement of its kind, it’s great to see the local authority putting wellbeing at the heart of its services and being committed to system-wide working for the good of its residents.”

Amy Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer for CADAT, Citizens Advice Diss and Thetford added her support: “Our service is unique. A compelling client focused approach to provide holistic support for complex and specialist financial and hardship needs. Our people receive significant and continued training to ensure we support and empower our clients in a way that is most suitable to them and their unique situation. There it is a not a one size fits all approach which can be stigmatised.”

Cllr Alison Webb, Breckland Council’s Executive Member for Health & Communities, commented: “I am delighted to see our relationship with the Citizens Advice charities expand to encompass high-quality and impartial debt advice.

“We recognise that financial issues can exacerbate other needs such as poor mental health, even more so with cost-of-living increases. This enhanced service is part of the holistic welfare support Breckland Council provides to our residents, and will help those needing to seek financial advice on their benefit entitlement or on how to best manage their debt, as part of a comprehensive wrap-around service available to them through Breckland Council and local Citizens Advice services.”

(Source: Breckland)