A CHARITY based in Yate is moving home in order to increase the number of people it can help with face-to face advice.

Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire will move from its current rented building to a new premises in the new year.

The team hopes this will mean the charity can help an additional 1,900 people each year.

But the charity needs the help of the public to raise the £30,000 needed to make changes to the building to make it ready for supporting clients.

The charity provides support to people in the region with a wide range of problems including debt, benefits, energy, employment and housing.

It is helping ten times as many people needing referrals for foodbank vouchers as it was before the pandemic.

There was an average of six referrals per month in 2019 - and there are now regularly more than 60 each month.

Similarly, the charity saw more than 60 clients for energy issues in February of 2023 compared to six in February 2019.

Overall, the charity helped a total of 4,183 South Gloucestershire residents with 19,625 issues in 2022/23 – 9 per cent more than in the previous year.

The charity has outgrown its home of more than 20 years meaning there is an urgent need for a move to a larger space.

There are only four client interview rooms in the current building.

The waiting area space is small and quickly becomes full during open-door advice sessions.

This means people often have to stand, sit on the floor or queue outside while they wait to see a qualified adviser.

There are no public toilets on the current site and no room for mobility scooters and pushchairs which have to be left outside.

At the same time, the charity currently only has room for ten desks shared between 37 people - 20 volunteer advisers and 17 staff.

A rota system is in place for using desks in the office - while for the rest of the time, team members work from home.

Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is funding the purchase of Unit 1, Badminton Court - near Yate Railway Station - using reserves and a loan.

But it also needs to raise additional funds for changes such as creating eight new interview rooms.

This will double the number of client rooms at its current home near Yate Leisure Centre.

There will also be more office desk space to allow more volunteer advisers and staff to be able to work at the same time.

And there will be a larger waiting room space with comfortable seating to allow more clients to be able to sit comfortably while waiting to see an adviser.

The charity is appealing to the public to donate to its fundraising appeal for the necessary alterations and purchases.

Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire’s Chief Executive Officer Chantal Watts said: “We would be very grateful if you could spare £10 towards our cause.

“We appreciate not everyone can spare anything at the moment, so for those who can - it would be fantastic if you could consider donating more to “pay it forward” on behalf of fellow South Gloucestershire residents.”

One client who used the service last year said: “Good advice and listened to what I had to say. Seemed caring and really tried to help.”

Another who visited earlier this year said: “It was free, easy and friendly to use. The gentleman that I saw seemed to know what he was talking about and gave me confidence to report to Trading Standards.”

Donate at - tinyurl.com/4y3m6vyc