CITIZENS Advice in Bridport and District has put special measures in place for people to continue to get help as lockdown eases but requests for help increase.

The service is now ready to give additional support to help local residents begin to get back to normal and has been offering a limited drop-in service for people who are unable to leave a message or need to go in.

In the first phase of the pandemic, following Government guidelines, volunteers quickly adapted to the change in their working environment from no longer offering face-to-face appointments to working from home, whilst providing phone and digital advice. This resulted in many people and advisers having to learn new skills and taking on new roles.

Since the start of lockdown on March 23 until June 1, Bridport and District Citizens Advice helped more than 400 people with 889 issues. The type of issues include supporting vulnerable residents who are shielding; providing employment and benefits advice to employees now on furlough or at risk of redundancy; guidance for returning to work; family and relationship advice and much more.

In recent weeks, Citizens Advice has seen a big increase in the number of people using the service to seek help for key subjects such as Universal Credit and employment, and expects demand to grow considerably across all subject areas as lockdown eases and government schemes come to an end.

Citizens Advice is now focused on the recovery phase and is working to anticipate high demand as the lockdown eases and the government support schemes scale back.

Rovarn Wickremasinghe, chief officer, said: “We are an independent charity and never before has it been so critical for us to secure additional funding to allow us to continue to meet demand. At the same time, responding to the crisis has been an opportunity to build upon existing partnerships and form new ones for the benefit of local people, including working with our town councils, Dorset Council, local foodbanks, Trussell Trust, Dorset Community Foundation and the Access to Justice Foundation.”

From Tuesday, July 21 Bridport and District Citizens Advice has been offering a limited drop-in service. Sessions will be held at 45 South Street, Bridport, Monday to Friday from 10am and will follow government social-distancing guidelines.

Citizens Advice can be contacted by calling the Dorset Advice Line on 03444 111 444 or 01308 456594 or by emailing

People with Universal Credit problems can contact Citizens Advice on a national freephone number, 0800-144-8444 or visit