PEOPLE concerned about this week's shock closure of Citizens Advice South Lakeland offices in Kendal and Ulverston have been assured that alternative help is still available locally.

Cumbria Rural CAB has offices in Windermere and Grange-over-Sands and is continuing to operate.

It is also working on plans to get a CAB presence back in Kendal and Ulverston by next month.

Cumbria Rural CAB is entirely separate to the Citizens Advice South Lakeland which shut on Thursday due to financial problems.

Its outlets in Kendal and Ulverston have closed the doors leading to the lay-off 14 staff, after trustees called in the receivers.

Linda Wilkinson, bureau manager for Cumbria Rural CAB, advised anyone who needs advice in the Kendal area to phone North Lancashire CAB on 01524 400400 or Cumbria Rural CAB (Windermere) on 015394 46464.

She said anyone in the Ulverston area can contact Barrow Bureau on 01229 830367 or Cumbria Rural CAB as above.

Ms Wilkinson added that from April 2nd, Cumbria Rural CAB plan to start a new service with advice available in Kendal, Windermere, Ulverston and Grange.

"We are working closely with South Lakeland District Council to identify the best sites for the provision of the service, which may mean alternative premises in Kendal and Ulverston.

"Our service will be enhanced by the installation of a new state of the art telephone system, which will enable us to deliver advice to a greatly increased number of clients.

"We apologise for the brief break in service at Kendal and Ulverston, but once the new system is up and running we look forward to providing the same high quality advice service that clients have been used to receiving."

Citizens Advice South Lakeland helped an estimated 7,000 people last year in the two towns but has encountered financial problems caused by the end of certain grants and being unable to meet its capital running costs.

While its chief funder, South Lakeland District Council has continued to contribute around £47,000 annually, the cessation of other government and service contracts have affected the charity's income.

Just two years ago, the charity was warning in its financial statement that it was struggling and made a profit of just £387 and had an operating deficit of £30,845.

Trustees have declined to reveal how much Citizens Advice South Lakeland now owes, although an insolvency practitioner has been appointed and a creditors meeting will be held on Tuesday March 12, at 11.45am at The Foyer, the Freida Scott Conference Room in Yard 95A, Stricklandgate, Kendal.