Citizens Advice services in Wymondham and Attleborough cut as district council slashes budget
PUBLISHED: 13:28 07 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:28 07 May 2017
Citizens Advice services in Wymondham and Attleborough have been slashed after a council decision to cut its funding in half.
David Potten, acting chief executive of Norfolk Citizens Advice, said the move by South Norfolk Council to cut its annual funding of the service from £45,168 to £22,584 has led to reduced opening times and has already made one staff member redundant.
But the council says it is not cutting its residents’ advice budget, but is changing the way that support is offered.
Mr Potten said: “We were disappointed at the cut in funding from South Norfolk Council but we do recognise that the council is under considerable financial pressure of its own and has to make cuts somewhere.”
Following the cuts, the office in Middleton Street, Wymondham and the office at Attleborough Town Hall can only run their drop-in services between 10am and 1pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Jo Baker, Wymondham operations manager, said: “I’m just very pleased we’ve managed to retain the service for the two communities. In total, we’ll be open on one fewer day each week and I’m hoping it’ll have a minimal impact on the clients we serve.”
A spokesman for South Norfolk Council, which does not cover Attleborough, said the council was one of several organisations to fund Norfolk Citizens Advice services. He said the council had not cut the amount it invests in providing advice to its residents.
The spokesman said: “The council started discussions with Norfolk C.A. in May 2016 after looking at the services that it offered South Norfolk residents.
“A decision was taken that rather than asking C.A. to continue to provide financial advice the council would strengthen its welfare and debt advice service, by offering FIRST (Financial Independence Resilience, Skills and Training) through its Help Hub.”
The Help Hub links specialist workers from 27 agencies which offers a ‘no wrong door’ service designed to prevent clients from being passed on from office to another. Last year, 100,000 people in Norfolk - one in seven of the population - used the Citizens Advice website.
Anyone interested in volunteering for Citizens Advice can call 01603 273116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.