Advice service surprised by numbers of men seeking help in Penistone district

New statistics have revealed a series of quirks among those requesting help from a new advice service in the Penistone district, reversing the pattern advisors expect to see.

By Paul Whitehouse
Thursday, 01 August, 2019, 17:31
Good advice: Proportion of men seeking help from the CAB in Penistone is far higher than other areas

Citizens Advice Bureau has launched the service with funding from Penistone Area Council, which works to provide services most in demand from the pubic across the district.

It has only held five sessions so far, but has reported back to councillors that three out of four of those seeking help are men – compared to CAB’s expected breakdown of six women to four men.

Numbers see so far are low and CAB can offer no explanation for the disparity, but will monitor figures as numbers using the service grow further to check whether the pattern continues.

They have also found that 40 per cent of those attending have not wanted to reveal their housing status, with 20 per cent owning their own home, 30 per cent being in council housing and ten per cent in privated rented accommodation.

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CAB spokesman David Handy told a meeting of the area council the reason for the unwillingness of people to answer could be because they were homeless or in unsuitable accomodation – such as sleeping on someone else’s settee – and did not want to admit it.

Although in its infancy, the service has helped people claim almost £24,000 due to them in benefits and deal with debt totalling almost £30,000.

In one case, a client who’s weekly rent and power bills added up to more than the pay from their part time job was helped to claim £8,400 a year through Universal Credit, giving them an affordable lifestyle.

The scheme will be re-assessed in a few months.