A Carmarthenshire project has helped hundreds of people with debt problems and issues of benefit entitlement.
The Llanelli Communities First Debt and Benefit, Volunteering Support Demonstration Project continued into its third year of delivery alongside the Pantyffynnon Communities First Debt and Benefit, Back to Work project.
The Pantyffynnon project was successful in accessing funding to take it forward this year and to expand into the Gwendraeth Valley.
The year 2011-2012 has also seen the expansion of the Carmarthenshire County Council debt and benefit projects to include the RDP debt and benefit support work being delivered in the Tywi, Teifi, Taf area of the county.
The project teams have worked closely with community development teams within their areas to promote project services and have developed strong working relationships and networks with partners.
Pantyffynnon Communities First volunteer development worker Eve Jones said: “In the last year the projects provided support over issues of £1,608,211 in domestic debt.
“The project saw 468 clients, indirectly supported 392 dependent children and engaged with 59 volunteers.”
One of those volunteers was mother-of-two Jackie Corcoran who has been a volunteer for the Pantyffynnon Debt and Benefit Project and Communities First for six years. She joined the team after moving to the area in order to meet new people and help wherever she could.
Jackie said: “When I had just moved to the area I met another volunteer at a house party who told me all about the work they were doing. It interested me straight away. I wanted to see if I could help anyone local. That was 2005 and I haven’t looked back since.”
Ms Corcoran works 25 hours a week at a local store but still finds the time to do the volunteer work. Jackie now hopes she can progress her career with the office skills and experience learned as a volunteer.
Eve Jones said: “Jackie has been a great help and has gained a lot from the volunteering too. She has dealt with clients on a one-to-one basis, held outreach with staff, such as the Women’s Aid, and helps host community events and the market project. She has taken part in so much training and is putting it to good use.”
The Debt and Benefit team in Pantyffynnon are always looking for new volunteers for an array of jobs. How much time you have to volunteer is up to you! If you would like to learn & develop skills and put them to good use then give the team a call on 01269 596821.