MP’s praise for inspiring team which helps so many in North Herts tackle their problems

MP Sir Oliver Heald talks with CAB chair of trustees Giles Woodruff and chief executive Rionach Aike

MP Sir Oliver Heald talks with CAB chair of trustees Giles Woodruff and chief executive Rionach Aiken at the centre in Letchworth - Credit: Archant

An MP who dropped in to meet the team at the headquarters of a North Herts advice organisation has praised the work of volunteers who help so many people tackle problems which threaten to overwhelm them.

MP Sir Oliver Heald talks with CAB chair of trustees Giles Woodruff and chief executive Rionach Aike

MP Sir Oliver Heald talks with CAB chair of trustees Giles Woodruff and chief executive Rionach Aiken at the centre in Letchworth - Credit: Archant

Sir Oliver Heald, who represents North East Hertfordshire, visited the Letchworth office of North Hertfordshire and District Citizens Advice Bureau to meet staff and volunteers who deal with issues ranging from housing to employment.

The organisation is run by a team of part-time members of staff and around 50 volunteers, and offers free, impartial advice at offices in Letchworth, Hitchin and Royston.

Sir Oliver found out more that each year the organisation helps more than 9,000 clients.

Nationally, two in every three people who seek advice from Citizens Advice say that their problem was either partly or completely resolved, and four in five say that they experienced extra benefits from getting help, such as improved mental health.

CAB apprentice Natalie Smith talks with MP Sir Oliver Heald during a visit to the Letchworth offices

CAB apprentice Natalie Smith talks with MP Sir Oliver Heald during a visit to the Letchworth offices - Credit: Archant


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During the visit, Sir Oliver found out more information on the top three most common issues which local residents seek help for, including debt, benefits and tax credits, and housing.

He met chief executive Rionach Aiken and volunteer chair of trustees Giles Woodruff together with other volunteers, saw the telephone Adviceline in action and met specialist caseworkers who deal with clients with complex problems.

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He said: “My team and I work closely with North Herts CAB, so it was very inspiring to visit the Letchworth office and to hear how the advisers and volunteers are helping people with a wide range of problems.

“The staff are very understanding and are really making a positive difference on housing, debt and other issues. I was very impressed.”

Citizens Advice Bureau research and communications manager Katherine Bennett, advice services and op

Citizens Advice Bureau research and communications manager Katherine Bennett, advice services and ops manager Roanne Mangham, apprentice Natalie Smith, MP Sir Oliver Heald, chief executive Rionach Aiken and chair of trustees Giles Woodruff outside the centre in Letchworth - Credit: Archant

Rionach Aiken said: “North Herts Citizens Advice has a unique insight into the most current issues facing local people so we were pleased to welcome Sir Oliver to share our experiences first-hand.

“With demand for free advice increasing, it’s vital that we’re here to help people get back on their feet.

“Every year we are able to help thousands of people who have nowhere else to turn.

“We look forward to working even more closely with Sir Oliver so that we can continue to provide effective services for local people.”

CAB apprentice Natalie Smith talks with MP Sir Oliver Heald during a visit to the Letchworth offices

CAB apprentice Natalie Smith talks with MP Sir Oliver Heald during a visit to the Letchworth offices - Credit: Archant

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