Advice plays a key role in helping ensure people are not disadvantaged by a lack of awareness about their rights or responsibilities. Advice can increase income, help bring debt under control, prevent homelessness, improve health and tackle poverty.
Across England and Wales, Citizens Advice Bureaux have been looking at ways for people from isolated areas to access advice and information more easily. However, with local authority cuts many bureaux are looking for new partners to ensure people in rural areas can continue to access the advice they need to resolve the problems they are facing.
In many cases churches can help by housing a CAB. Already churches are working to ensure their communities can retain vital services such as community shops and post offices. With the largest network of buildings in rural areas (estimated to be at least 15,000 buildings in England alone), churches and bureaux can be partners creating oases of information and support in 'advice deserts'.
The CAB, Anglican, Methodist and United Reformed Church have worked together to produce the following guide – Faithful Advice. The document draws on the experiences of churches and bureaux that are already working together and addresses some of the practical issues of how a CAB and a church can work together to meet the advice needs of local communities.