Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) has been inundated with requests for help since the controversial Universal Credit system was rolled out in the region last December and has warned there appears to be no let up in demand for services as it heads into its 21st year of existence.
The scale of the issue has been thrown into sharp focus following the publication of CARF’s annual report, which revealed that the organisation assisted almost 15,000 clients with complex benefit issues, tribunal representation and debt advice in the past year.
CARF says its work contributed over £11.5 million to the Fife economy in 2017/18, almost 3,500 forms were filled out across the year and volunteers contributed over 24,000 hours of their time to the organisation.
But it is the impact of Universal Credit that continues to dominate the agenda and has placed the organisation under “significant strain”.
“CARF will continue to raise issues and campaign for social policy change in these areas alongside local and national partners.”
Like all third sector organisations, CARF relies heavily on the commitment of its volunteers and, in the age of welfare reform, Mrs Philpott said the need for additional resource is “paramount” to help maintain the high standards.
“Whilst we expect to be in high demand in the coming months and years, we will endeavour to put clients at the heart of our services and continue to deliver work that improves life for the people of Fife,” she added.