`

The Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre column with Nick Whittingham

ADVICE: KCALC is based in Empire House and at other venues.
ADVICE: KCALC is based in Empire House and at other venues.

In the past year over 46,000 people have taken their problems to Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre (KCALC), based in Empire House in Dewsbury as well as other areas in Kirklees.

There has been a 37% increase in the number of people using our Contact Centre in Dewsbury which is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

We are delighted to say that 96% of people using our service are happy or very happy with the help that they get.

For those who can’t get in to the centre or prefer to use the phone our telephone helpline 0344 848 7970 is open from 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and there is also plenty of information and links available via the website www.kcalc.org.uk.

If you have a problem, remember that KCALC can help with all types of issues.

Remember too that our service is free and confidential, and that we are independent which means that our job is to help you as much as we can.

The majority of our clients come to us with welfare benefits problems but we can also help people manage their debt issues, handle problems at work, make a complaint to the NHS about the service they have received, discuss pension choices, deal with housing issues, understand their consumer rights, talk about the practical details of relationship breakdown, and much, much more.

We helped one client get over £1,000 in backdated Universal Credit payments and another to increase his weekly income by over £200 by helping with a Benefits Appeal Tribunal.

We also enabled one person to make a complaint to the local Mental Health Trust which has resulted in them changing how they work with patients.

We talked to one man about his pension choices which resulted in him being able to retire earlier than he had anticipated.

A woman was helped to get Housing Benefit to live nearer to her family which has helped with her depression.

Last year we helped people handle nearly £8 million of debt and our clients were awarded over £12 million in new benefits which we helped them gain. Our clients have told us that “Your service was very good.

“The adviser was very nice and explained everything to me.” And “I feel I have another chance now.

“He never once made me feel ashamed or judged by my situation.”

Where we see a big issue which affects more than one person we can campaign on behalf of our clients.

We have worked on campaigns to make secondary ticketing websites clearer about their charges and fees and also to make people aware of their entitlement to holidays even when they are on a zero hours contract.

Please don’t hesitate to come and see us with your issues. We have an excellent team of trained staff and volunteers whose job is to help you move forward and get things sorted.

Over 46,000 people can’t be wrong!