Merseyside charity leads UK sector with multi-platform 24-hour advice

WITH over 200,000 people in the city contacting Citizens Advice Liverpool (CAL) every year, the charity celebrated  the launch of several groundbreaking services last week at Liverpool’s British Music Experience.

Councillor Frank Hont, CAL’s new Chair,  and Liverpool’s cabinet member for housing, welcomed key stakeholders from Liverpool’s social housing and charity sector to the event and the CAL team shared their latest innovations which help further support the City’s vulnerable communities.

The team brought to life the functions of the Citizens Advice Liverpool mobile app. It is the first Citizens Advice in the country to launch a free mobile app of its kind, directing local residents to free advice services available in the city and around the clock advice on a variety of areas, including debt, education, benefits, tax credits, housing and more.

Chief Officer of the charity, Heather Brent, and her team also introduced attendees to further initiatives including 8am-8pm opening times on their debt telephone advice line (0300 330 1196), along with introducing further routes of contact through Whatsapp and SMS. Furthermore, they also introduced the UK’s first Snapchat trial, targeting students in the City with relevant support and guidance.

The UK SnapChat trial has been commissioned following the receipt of £25,000 funding from the Martin Lewis Fund, who is an avid supporter of the charity.

Martin Lewis OBE, the Money Saving Expert, said: “Few realise Citizens Advice, which is at the bedrock of society, is a charity not a government agency – a shame as the work it does is truly lifesaving.

“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 helped them on the path to dealing with it.

“As a huge fan of the organisation, I’m delighted to be able to help it pioneer new ways to reach out and improve people’s lives.”

Chief Officer at CAL, Heather Brent, commented:  “It was fantastic to welcome media, charities and partners of Citizens Advice Liverpool to British Music Experience and introduce them to our latest communications developments.

“Providing advice over the phone and across all digital platforms, has opened up a whole new door for us, as we are able to guide people instantly and effectively, should they opt to be communicated with in this way. From our roots as a walk-in bureau, we are revolutionising our communications and charity as a whole, helping us to improve people’s lives in the local community.”