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Future of CAB in Kendal and Ulverston is in doubt
A QUESTION mark hangs over the long-term future of the Citizens Advice Bureau in South Lakeland.
The service, which helps hundreds of residents to cope with mounting debts and problems each year, could close its centres in Ulverston and Kendal and replace them with an outreach facility.
Roger Lindsay, a volunteer for six years before stepping down from the role last month, said workers had been told that the centres in both towns could close due to funding problems.
And John Dersley, chairman of Citizens Advice South Lakeland, said that while the charity would still be solvent at the end of this financial year, he could not make any guarantees beyond that.
Mr Lindsay said: “It is an important service, helping a few hundred people who are dependent on it as a lifeline. In the current climate, there are many people struggling with debt and we need a local office to help them..
“The idea of an outreach facility where someone has a laptop and a mobile cannot match the service we are offering at the moment. It will inevitably involve a reduction in the service we can offer to people.”
Mr Dersley said the trustees could not predict what might happen with funding beyond March 2013, besides the £45,000 a year grant from South Lakeland District Council, but stressed there were no solid plans to close Ulverston or Kendal.
He added: “The trustees would only be doing their duty to make sure we have a contingency plan in place in the event of CASL being unable to continue in its present form.
“What we have done is talk to our opposite numbers who run the Cumbria Rural CAB, which has premises in Windermere and Grange, and in a couple of years they could be in the same position as us, so we agreed that we should work together.
“That might mean having one main office and the other locations would have to close but we wouldn’t want to leave people in the lurch. We would ensure that anybody who needed our services would still get them and when they needed face to face help we would make sure they have an appointment with one of our advisers. It might be in a room in a town hall - as long as we had a secure spot with wi-fi and a telephone.”