NEW figures have shown a rise in the number of cases being dealt with by rights and equality workers.
East Staffordshire Rights and Equality Council (ESREC) revealed that it met with 497 clients at its base in Union Street, Burton, between April and November last year.
This was 41 more than the same period in 2011.
People approached the voluntary service for help on a wide range of issues from immigration, harassment and employment.
The service also revealed that 40 of these were new people coming for help – the majority of these were females seeking advice on employment mattes.
ESREC director Amir Kabal said: “ESREC since 2007 has been facing year on year changes.
“The enlarged European Union has brought demographic changes and we now have a Single Equality Act replacing all other equality legislations.
“So far the principle of free local, timely advice, guidance and support at the point of need in discrimination work has been upheld by ESREC with the support of various partners, for which we are grateful.
“The Government has radically changed the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s functions and priorities.
“They are no longer provided with funds to distribute to local voluntary organisations for this work.
“ESREC so far has been able to diversify while keeping to the core principles of its aims and objectives.
“It is getting more difficult, time consuming and challenging to maintain the principle of free advice and support.
“We will need the commitment and support of all our partners to maintain the level of service in future.”
In 2011-12, more than 1,000 members of public sought information and advice from ESREC, which supported clients alleging discrimination in disability, pregnancy and maternity.
The group helped clients secure settlements worth more than £48,000.
Its client satisfaction rate is more than 40 per cent.
ESREC can be contacted by calling 01283 510456, emailing email@example.com or visiting www.eaststaffsrec.org.uk