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Latest News - 17/03/2014

Citizens Advice Service Supports the Fans

Football fans have always been quick to give their players or the referee guidance. Now, in a unique link-up, they instead can receive advice while at the match.

This Saturdays top-of-the-table clash with Peterhead F.C. March will see the first fruits of Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service’s (D&G CAS) new link-up with Annan Athletic Football Club. Citizens Advice Bureau advisors will be on hand in the supporters’ social club for any fan who wishes to stop by for a chat or hear about what Bureaux in the region have to offer. This is the first “pop-up” CAB at a football match in Scotland. D&G CAS staff will also be on hand to issue helpful football-themed leaflets in the Annan colours of black and gold.

The particular focus will be on debt and personal finances, with D&G CAS recently seeing a sharp rise in clients who have run into problems with doorstep, high street and payday lenders. D&G CAS can help those with debt troubles, for instance by negotiating repayment plans which can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to work with Annan Athletic F.C. in an innovative way that will benefit the local communities of Annandale and Eskdale. We are concerned with the low uptake of debt advice in the area and so encourage football fans to take this opportunity as a first step towards taking control of their finances.”

D&G CAS Bureaux are located in Annan itself, as well as Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Stranraer, with outreach services and home visits also on offer. Football fans are being encouraged to visit their local CAB and are being reminded that the advice service is free, welcoming, independent, completely confidential and non-judgemental. It is hoped that by targeting football matches D&G CAS can reach a crowd who do not typically use its services.

The scheme has been welcomed by the SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster commenting “I believe that football clubs should be at the centre of the communities that surround and sustain them.  Initiatives like this demonstrate Annan Athletic’s firm commitment to its local community.  I wish all concerned the very best of luck with this innovative and extremely worthwhile venture.”

Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct said “We are delighted to back this innovative project from a club that really understand the value of its role within the wider community and knows the importance of providing support for important local initiatives. We are looking forward to learning from this activity and seeing if there are programmes that than be adapted across Scotland following this campaign at Annan Athletic”.

Local politicians have also offered their support for this unique partnership in recognition of the potential difference this can make to the local community. Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said, “This is an excellent initiative and one I hope to see copied across Scotland. I have placed a motion in the Scottish Parliament commending both D&G CAS and Annan Athletic on their efforts to use their position at the heart of our community to help people in the area. I applaud Annan Athletic for taking the lead on this issue, while some clubs are sponsored by payday and high street lenders. D&G CAS own statistics show that personal debt is a growing problem in the region and payday lenders are playing a significant part in that. I am hopeful that this partnership will help tackle that.”

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS, on 0300 303 4321 or 07979 578854 or Philip Jones, Annan Athletic F.C. on 07738 694631.

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