A RECORD number of people attended the annual general meeting of Citizens Advice Winchester District to hear how it helps local people in crisis and to understand how fragile the future funding of the service is.

Representatives from local firms of solicitors, Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, other local charities plus many volunteers from the charity attended.

The main focus was to highlight the difference Citizens Advice makes to local people, with a talk from a client who’d benefited from the service and also from a volunteer adviser.

Attendees were also shown a short film produced by the charity which featured three of the approximately 6,506 clients with more than 14,000 issues that their advice team help each year.

The meeting also highlighted the vulnerability of its funding. The public perception is that Citizens Advice is funded by central government but this is not the case.

Chief officer Natalie Webb said: “Like many other charities, our funding situation is vulnerable. As a local and independent charity we rely on local funding and fundraising to support our service. We’re extremely grateful that Winchester City Council see the value in our service and support us annually with a grant. Without Winchester City Council’s support we simply couldn’t exist. Though even with this, the current year is presenting a real financial challenge. That’s why we’re appealing to local people and businesses to support us.

“Whether it’s a one off donation or longer term support, please do donate if you can.

“All of the information about how to do so is on our website or you can call in to our offices.”