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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Eden's under-threat advice centre spared the axe

A critical advice service threatened with the axe has been saved.

Andy Auld photo
Andy Auld

Funding problems had cast doubt over the future of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Eden.

But after a year of working as part of the Carlisle operation, the prospects of cuts to its operations have been lifted – and its services extended.

The combined CAB operation in Carlisle and Eden districts this week announced that its work in Eden will continue three days a week. That means face-to-face operations continuing at its offices in Penrith town centre, as well as an outreach programme in Appleby.

Not only that, but a support service for people with cancer and their families is being launched.

The collaboration between CAB and cancer charity Macmillan has previously been available in other parts of Cumbria – including an operation in Carlisle since 2006 – but not Eden.

It has been made possible through cash backing from the new clinical commissioning group which oversees NHS operations in the county.

Bosses at the two north Cumbrian CAB branches are pleased their collaboration’s success means no reduction from operations in Eden.

Chief executive Andy Auld said: “The merger of the two CABs has proved to be challenging, not least because of the threat of all-round reduction in funding for projects and the management of two very different sites.

“The continuing support of Eden Council, Carlisle City Council, and Cumbria County Council is recognised and appreciated.

“Parish councils have also financially supported the work of the CAB, and MP Rory Stewart played a key role last summer in facilitating a meeting of parties interested in keeping a strong CAB service in Eden.”

Advice staff in Carlisle and Penrith remain busy as people struggle against the backdrop of Britain’s recovery from recession. There have also been a surge of queries from those affected by the Government’s welfare reforms, including changes to the benefits system and the controversial so-called bedroom tax.

Mr Auld added: “The support of funders has been very important in ensuring this essential service continues at a time when it is needed the most.

“I would, however, like to give particular thanks for the CAB workers who have shown dedication and commitment in providing a tremendous service, and to all the members of the public who have shown overwhelming support to the CAB, over the last 12 months.”

Cumbria County Council has been involved keeping cash available for the Eden operation to continue.

Dawn Roberts, the authority’s assistant director of policy and performance, said: “We’re delighted the county council has been able to play a key part in ensuring the CAB service in Eden will continue.

“It’s great news that there will not be a cut in the hours the service is available.”

Doctors say they are delighted the cancer support service will operate in Eden.

A worker is being recruited for the new project. Anyone with an advice background in welfare benefits should email admin@carlislecab.co.uk or phone 01228 633909 for an application pack.

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