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citizens advice

Nisa retailer Harjit Singh is hosting a mobile Citizens Advice unit at his store.

The free and confidential drop-in service run by Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall has been operating outside the High Heath-based store for the past two weeks on Fridays, from 10am to 1pm.

Advisors offer a raft of support in areas including debt, benefits, employment, and housing or homelessness issues. The van has a room inside for privacy. 

A local retired solicitor has also “kindly volunteered” to contribute to the facility by offering the community free legal advice.

“It’s more their initiative than ours, but we’re just giving them the room to facilitate it,” Singh told The Grocer. “It’s on the table for a four-week trial, and if the community use it, they’ll stay.

“We’re a community store and we want to give us much back to the community as we can, that’s what it’s all about. Bringing in Citizens Advice just fits in with everything we do.”

The mobile advice unit, named Casper – which stands for Citizens Advice Supporting People’s Economic Recovery – is also operating in other parts of the region. This includes at supermarkets, food pantries, community centres and churches.

“They said the community feel in our area is like nowhere else they’ve been,” he added. “They’ve said it’s being used because of our community approach and our reputation.”

The service is being offered alongside the lateral flow testing facility the retailer initially set up earlier this year with Walsall Council. This continues to be provided to the local community on Thursdays. 

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