Rallying call for fund-raising and volunteers by cut-hit Citizens Advice service in North Norfolk.

A rallying call for fund-raising and volunteer help has been launched by a vital advice service hit by cash cutbacks.

Citizens Advice North Norfolk has had to prune back its workforce and opening hours after losing �100,000 from its �245,000 annual budget following a Lottery bid failure.

It has cut its trio to staff advisers from three to one, axed outreach sessions in half a dozen towns and villages, and scaled back opening hours - which organisers say is bound to hit the thousands of problem-hit people who raised nearly 20,000 issues with the bureau last year.

Service chief officer Fiona Hunter praised the efforts of some former staff who were now giving up their spare time to join the ranks of the 60-plus volunteers giving advice - but said the failure to renew Lottery funding meant a significant cut in the services available.

She urged anyone able to join the volunteer teams, or to stage fund-raising events, to step forward and help CANN.

It had seen a huge rise in workload over recent years, through a combination of people facing more problems, particularly debt, in the recession - and because of expanded services it had been able to provide because of the extra funding gained through a successful five-year �387,000 Lottery award which had just run out.

'This has come at the worst possible time. People are still losing their jobs and having their hours cut and building up debts that take much longer to get out of than into,' said Mrs Hunter.

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CANN tried to help as many as people as possible with its remaining basic service, but the cut in paid advisers meant there was less depth of expertise than before.

Changes to the benefits system were causing people further problems.

'People on benefits are not running any excess and a small change can make a big difference,' she added.

The number of CANN redundancies did not seem huge, but had a big impact when the service 'already runs on a shoestring,' added Mrs Hunter.

As reported last week when the news first broke, CANN has offices at North Walsham and Fakenham, but has had to scrap early evening sessions at Walsham on Monday which were popular with working clients.

It will continue outreach visits to Cromer and Wells - but has axed sessions at Bacton, Buxton, Hoveton, Mundesley, Stalham and Sheringham.

Efforts were being made to find new sources of grant funding, but typically they were for �500 to �5,000 when the bureau needed 'thousands' to resume its former levels of service - and a growing number of charities were competing for a shrinking pool of grant money.

It remained grateful for the continued support of the district and county councils, she added.

Mrs Hunter reassured the public: 'We are still here and will help as much as we can, but it might not be as much as before.'

She appealed for anyone with spare time - generally around a day a week, plus training time - to join the army of volunteers - or with ideas for fund-raising events to contact the bureau.

Call 01692 402570 or 01328 856040 or visit www.cabnorthnorfolk.org.uk

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