The Rural Issues Group (RIG) comprises over 160 local Citizens Advice (CA) across England and Wales. All provide the full CA service to clients seeking advice, the most in demand being about dealing with debt and benefits.
The particular remit of RIG is to promote access and inclusion for all rural clients, whether living in deep rural areas or on the urban fringe; to ensure that the needs of the rural population are kept in focus and to ensure that Citizens Advice’s policies and procedures are themselves fully rural-proofed. A steering committee from all the regions drives forward the agenda and every two years we hold a conference. Last time we looked at the looming funding challenges and how to underpin reducing local government grants with charitable donations from individuals and businesses, as well as charity shops! This year we are focussing on housing and digital inclusion at our conference and are currently undertaking a large scale survey to assess which issues most affect our clients.