Citizens Advice Sedgemoor
Local Citizens Advice offices in Somerset County call for rethink on funding cuts
Citizens Advice in Somerset are calling on Somerset County Council not to go ahead with a proposal to cut all of the funding it provides to them.
The 5 Citizens Advice in Somerset are all independent charities, based in Sedgemoor, Mendip, South Somerset, West Somerset and Taunton.
Funding from the Council is used to run the charities’ day-to-day advice services.
The charities are warning that, should the cuts go ahead, they would need to look at significantly reducing the services currently offered. They estimate that almost 6,000 people facing evictions, bailiffs actions, unfair dismissals and benefit delays will no longer have access to their advice and support services as a result. This number includes some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and there are now few other services for them to turn to.
Last year they helped almost 23,000 people with a range of issues, including benefits, debt and housing. Using a Treasury model, the 5 charities calculate that the overall public value of their service is almost £30m.
The County Council will make a final decision on funding for Citizens Advice in Somerset on Wednesday 12 September. You can support the charities by signing a petition by clicking this link https://form.jotformeu.com/82483176924364 or complete online on your local Citizens Advice website or www.westsomersetadvice.org.uk
Lyn Goodfellow, Chair of Citizens Advice Sedgemoor (on behalf of 5 Citizens Advice), said:
"We understand Somerset County Council are in a difficult position and they need to make some tough decisions. We appreciate the support they've shown us over the years, which has allowed us to help tens of thousands of people.
“However, we would urge them to rethink their proposal to cut funding. We offer a vital service that’s also value for money as we stop people’s problems from getting worse, which eases demand on other local providers.
“Our immediate priority is to work together to minimise disruption to the service should these proposed cuts take place, particularly for vulnerable clients. For now though, we remain open for the people of Somerset County."
The Citizens Advice service offers practical, up-to-date information and advice on a wide range of topics, including; debt, benefits, housing, legal, discrimination, employment, immigration, consumer and other problems.
Our advice is available to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, age, nationality, disability or religion.
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More about us
• We are funded by Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Town and Parish Councils and donations from members of the public and also through various projects
• We offer independent, free, confidential and impartial advice
• We cover the district of Sedgemoor
• The service can be accessed by e-mail, phone, letter or in person through our main drop-in or at outreach
• The service operates with a small team of paid staff and is reliant on a large number of volunteers