15,000 Fifers helped as advice group hits landmark year


Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) is celebrating a special landmark – its 21st anniversary.

The organisation, which gives free, impartial and independent advice across a wide range of issues, has also published its annual report.

It shows that in 2017-18, CARF helped almost 15,000 people with complex benefit issues, tribunal representation and debt advice.

Almost 3500 forms were filled out with volunteers contributing in excess of 24,000 hours of their time to the organisation.

One of its focal points has been the roll out of Universal Credit which impacted on a large number of Fife families.

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Tom Vrolijk, CARF chairman, said: “We are a strong and established entity and very good at what we do on a day-by-day basis. That’s why people trust us.

“Whilst the future is challenging, it also provides opportunities for CARF to deliver joint services for the good of Fife.”

The report highlights the many examples of collaborations and projects involving local and national groups, while CARF has successfully retained a number of nationally accredited advice standards and overseen the development of new volunteering roles.

Norma Philpott, chief executive officer, said: “The report yet again demonstrates the need for the Citizens Advice offering in today’s society.

“Thanks to the determination of paid staff and volunteers, we can demonstrate the scale of their work and the positive impacts on individuals and communities across Fife.

“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: “The organisation benefits from experienced paid staff and a diverse volunteer base, and we are delighted to have recently appointed a number of new directors to ensure there is strong governance in place.”

The appointees include Councillor Alistair Cameron (Lab), Kirkcaldy East.

He said, “I am delighted to be working with some amazing people in an invaluable organisation and resource for the community.

“I am looking forward to the challenge and the responsibilities the role carries. “