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Herefordshire's Citizen Advice Bureau saved by campaign
12:04pm Wednesday 22nd January 2014 in News
A TWO-month public campaign to save the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) found out this week that it had been successful - after a shock decision by Herefordshire council to reinstate funding.
CAB – a support service working with the county’s most vulnerable – was told last year that its annual £117,000 funding would be withdrawn as part of unprecedented council cutbacks to social services.
However, following an announcement last Thursday, chief executive Claire Keetch said staff are delighted that full funding would continue through to March 2015.
Following that, the council is expected to commission the service.
Ms Keetch said: “We just want to be able to carry on doing what we do best – which is offering high quality information and advice to those who need it most.”
Last year CAB helped more than 5,000 people get the correct benefits and manage their debts.
As a service it enabled people to make financial gains of just under £3m – as well as offering the kind of family and relationship advice cuts to legal aid are making it harder to find elsewhere.
Ms Keetch added: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response – not just from high profile individuals like the Bishop, but from the sheer number of members of the public who got involved and signed our petitions."
Ms Keetch submitted petitions, some online, some handwritten, in support of the service, and the council attributed this "strength of feelings" for its turnaround.
Council Leader Tony Johnson said: "We realise that the CAB is strongly valued within the community.
"Taking these matters into consideration, the council has agreed to continue with its grant, together with the rent free accommodation at the Hereford Town Hall.
"The allocation of funding for this coming financial year will also give us time to work with the Herefordshire CAB to plan beyond 2015."