A REQUEST by Citizens Advice for urgent financial help from Skipton Town Council has been turned down, but with the free public service being told to return by councillors after the authority had set its budget.

In a letter to the town council, Carol Shreeve, chief executive of North Yorkshire Citizens Advice and Law Centre, which has a base in Belle Vue Square, Skipton, said demand for the service was currently at 'crisis point'.

She said in the last year, Citizens Advice had helped 799 people in Craven with 4,186 problems, including 387 people in Skipton.

"The themes we have been dealing with mainly relate to increasing anxiety around income and fear of energy costs, health and security. We are also seeing concerns around housing and access to local services, particularly for those experiencing rural or other isolation," said Ms Shreeve. 

Citizens Advice runs a main service in Skipton with drop in sessions and appointments most days of the week and an outreach advice in Settle.

Ms Shreeve said: "We gave a, range of advice from a one off simple consumer enquiry to specialist preventative services to stop debt/homelessness occurring, and representation at tribunals and court."

She added the charity was 'not a popular' one for public donations because most people wrongly thought it was a statutory body, and offered to give a presentation to the council about the work it did.

She said: "Demand for our service is at crisis point at the current time. Before Covid, our helpline had a demand of an average 250 calls a week, now it has an average of 650 calls a week. We are trying to do what we believe is vital for our vulnerable clients and keep all our on-ground services open while meeting our phone demand. In some areas, we are one of the few open-door services left that people can walk into and get support and talk to real people."

And, she appealed to the town council to 'help us keep our service on the ground and face to face. We can assure you that any donations received, no matter how small, will be spent delivering our service to people in your area.'

Skipton Town Council is due to hold its budget setting meeting at 7pm on Thursday, December 7 at Skipton Town Hall.