CDC agrees three-year funding for Citizens’ Advice Bureaux
Release date: 18 February 2016
Cotswold District Council Cabinet members have agreed a three-year funding arrangement to help maintain Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs) in the district. This means that the Council will grant over £66,000 per year during 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 to the Stroud and District CAB (operating as Citizens’ Advice Cotswolds) to maintain services at a main office in Cirencester and an out-reach facility in Moreton-in-Marsh. It will also pave the way for the re-launch of another out-reach facility in Tetbury in April.
Commenting on the decision, CDC Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe, said:
“The CABs in the Cotswolds provide an invaluable free advisory service to residents. I am full of admiration for the local volunteer advisors who devote considerable time and energy helping others to navigate a very wide range of issues including debt, employment issues, depression, stress, health, and other quality of life matters. During 2015 over 1800 people across the District consulted the CABs on over 5,300 issues and this demand is expected to increase steadily. Additionally, CAB workers have noted that queries are becoming increasingly more complex and require more time and effort to resolve.
“The service relies heavily on grant funding from the Council, and it makes a lot of sense to switch to a three-year funding deal. Now that this has been agreed, the CAB officials can commit to more attractive employment contracts and efficient lease agreements that last more than 12 months at a time. I should, add, however, that this funding agreement will be subject to an annual review by CDC to ensure that the service remains fit for purpose.”
Stroud and District CAB Ltd took over the running of the Cotswold CAB service in Cirencester in December 2013. At that point a separate Cotswold CAB had been in difficulties and was forced to close down for a while.
The newly re-launched service opened with 12 volunteer advisors and there are now 37 volunteers across the Cotswolds. In 2013 they re-opened the Moreton Outreach facility and plan to reintroduce a Tetbury Outreach in April.
The service provides walk-in advice but has added the option of obtaining help via a freephone helpline (0808 800 0511) and online via the website http://www.citizensadvice-stroudandcotswold.org.uk/ which also offers email contact.