Cash lifeline for Brecks advice bureaux

Cash-strapped Citizen's Advice Bureaux across Breckland are set to be offered much needed financial security.The three-year funding programme would be a boon to the district's five bureaux, which currently have to ask for handouts each year.

Cash-strapped Citizen's Advice Bureaux across Breckland are set to be offered much needed financial security.

The three-year funding programme would be a boon to the district's five bureaux, which currently have to ask for handouts each year.

Yesterday Breckland Council members discussed plans for a three-year rolling service agreement to provide funding for the CAB in return for its services.

It followed a presentation by senior CAB members showing the overlap between the advice it provides and the services demanded of Breckland Council.

Ann Booth, of the national Citizen's Advice organisation, told the meeting the most frequent query it dealt with related to benefits, followed closely by debt.

In Breckland the CAB handled 268 homelessness issues last year, including over 100 where its intervention lessened the workload of the council.

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Mrs Booth said: “For every one pound invested in the CAB by Breckland Council an additional £11 is raised by the bureaux and invested in community.”

Kate Biles, manager of the Thetford branch of the CAB, said the uncertainty of long-term funding made it very difficult to plan very far ahead.

The CAB employs 13 paid staff and 70 volunteers across Breckland and handled 19,524 queries in the district between 2005 and 2006.