RESIDENTS in South Gloucestershire are 'struggling to stay on top of household bills', a leading charity warns. 

Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire says it has received a huge number of enquiries from residents struggling to stay on top of household bills amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis 

In the last year, Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire says it has helped 4,198 people with 19,652 problems, including for debt advice, housing, benefits and employment issues.

As part of Volunteers’ Week, the charity is taking the time to highlight the work its volunteers do. 

A total of 20 volunteers at the charity contribute 200 hours each week.

Pippa Cox, 51, from Bristol, is a gateway adviser with Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire having previously worked in IT administration for 20 years.

Gazette Series: Pippa Cox who volunteers for Citizens Advise South Gloucestershire

She began training in November and completed in February, and is now helping clients with a wide range of problems.

She covers the face-to-face session in Yate on a Monday and the telephone Adviceline on Wednesday afternoons.

She said: “I wanted to volunteer as I had retired and wanted to do something with my time. I’m a perpetual volunteer – I always helped at my children’s school with the Parent Teacher Association. Volunteering is part of what I do really.

“It’s about giving back to the community and helping people."

Maya Prowse-Hall, 24, a student in Bristol, said: “I started volunteering in October last year.

"My friend at university did some volunteering with Citizens Advice so I thought I would quite like to do it as well.

Gazette Series: Maya Prowse-Hall who volunteers for Citizens Advise South Gloucestershire

“I enjoy enabling people to move forwards with their issues – it’s rewarding to see people feel as though they can improve their situation.”

Mary-Anne Darlow, 66, is a generalist adviser having previously worked as a nurse in the NHS.

She began volunteering with in September 2017 and works on Mondays and Fridays.

Gazette Series: Mary-Anne Darlow who volunteers for Citizens Advise South Gloucestershire

She said: “I retired from the NHS and felt I still had skills to share and wanted to make use of those skills. So while I had time and the ability I thought it was a good thing to do.

“If you have an interest in people and you are happy to give up some time, I think it’s a very valuable and interesting role.”

Chantal Watts, chief executive officer at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire said: “We’re forever grateful to our wonderful team of volunteers who willingly give up their time and skills to ensure people in South Gloucestershire can get the support they need.

“I’m particularly proud of the dedication they’ve shown during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, when demand for our help is so high.

“Their hard work, dedication and commitment is incredible. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”

There are face-to-face drop-in sessions in the Yate office on Mondays (4pm to 6pm), Tuesdays (10am to 3pm) and Fridays (10am to 1pm).

There are also outreach sessions in Bradley Stoke, Thornbury, Cadbury Heath, Emersons Green and Stoke Gifford throughout the week – check here for dates and times.