Date issued: 8 October 2019
Colchester Borough Council has reaffirmed its support for the town’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau, after it announced a reduced drop-in service at its Crouch Street office to one day per week.
This year, CAB received a £25k share of the council’s 2019/20 Voluntary Welfare Grants, as well as an additional £17,500 as a one-off grant. That figure, which represents a £7,500 reduction on the previous year, was boosted by a further £24k from Colchester Borough Homes for a CAB Tenancy Support Adviser offering independent, impartial money and debt advice and at least one money advice workshop for CBH tenants.
Cllr Mike Lilley, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “We continue to recognise the extremely important work Colchester CAB does and are keen to build on our supportive relationship with the organisation.
“Whilst it is unfortunate that there will be a reduced drop-in service, the good news is pre-booked debt appointments will continue to be offered five days a week, the Help to Claim service will run as usual from the Job Centre, and there will be no redundancies.
“Colchester benefits from many superb Voluntary Sector organisations and we have not reduced the £200k we make available through a transparent application process each year. All the organisations that apply for funding do incredible work supporting vulnerable residents, and there is a need to ensure the limited grants available support as many services as possible.”
Bill Hayton, Colchester CAB’s acting Chair, added: “Reducing the number of days of drop-in advice has been a very difficult decision, but one that was necessary to ensure our future. We are very grateful for the support of our staff and volunteers as we change the way that we work.
“We will continue to work with the council to deliver an excellent service for the people of Colchester and surrounding areas. As well as the Wednesday drop-in, advice is available every day through our website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/colchester and through our phone line 0300 330 2104. We are currently fund-raising in order to be able to provide extra days of drop-in advice at Crouch Street and we hope that the community will support our efforts.”