The Western Isles Citizens Advice Service (WICAS) has put half a million pounds into the pockets of local people over the six months from April to September 2017 in the form of compensation, with-held wages and unclaimed benefits.

The four CAB offices – based in Stornoway, Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay – collectively saw 2240 clients over the period, with social security benefits and debt cases far outnumbering other categories. The figures are published in the latest WICAS Operational Report presented to their Board of Directors. 

David Blaney, Chairman of WICAS, says: “This has been another busy period for our advisers in all four offices, but we are pleased to have provided much-needed support to so many local people. 

“The majority of cases we see are people who are in financial difficulty, perhaps in debt or rent arrears or struggling on a low income. It is always very satisfying when we can help those people gain some extra money.

“When someone is struggling financially the first thing we do is sit them down and see if there are any grants or benefits they are entitled to but unaware of. It is amazing how many times this is the case. Our expert advisers can find that support and help you claim it. There are also cases where we can help a client get compensation or damages or lost wages.

“Of course not all CAB cases result in cash payments, but over the spring and summer of this year we managed to help local people access a total of £499,927.06. That is £4.53 for every £1 of core funding we received, this is the figure we have been informed about by some of our clients and in all likelihood the real figure is probably substantially higher.”