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CAB secures £49,000 grant to stay open five days a week in Brentwood
8:10am Wednesday 13th June 2012 in News
A CHARITY has secured vital funding that will prevent it from having to slash its opening hours.
Brentwood Citizens Advice Bureau, in Crown Street, has won a £49,000 Government grant which will means it will be able to continue to provide its free services to thousands of residents five days a week.
The service was under threat after seeing its public funding drop by 20 per cent last year.
However, the bureau will now be able to boost the service it provides by employing a skills trainer to support the recruitment of new volunteers and develop the skills of existing staff.
The grant will also enable the bureau to offer more specialist advice on welfare benefits, which makes up 20 per cent of the cases it handles.
Richard McLeod, Brentwood CAB Manager, said: “This is excellent news for the residents of Brentwood. We did not want to reduce our opening hours but would have had no choice.
“The training role is very important as we need to be able to keep recruitment flowing and maintain the quality of advice we offer. There is a clear need to provide specialist advice on welfare benefits, particularly with the wide ranging changes being introduced by the Government.
“The grant is only for the next 12 months which means that we will have to work hard to find new funding so we don’t have to reduce our hours next year.”
The grant comes after Brentwood Council renewed its financial support to the bureau for another three years.
However, despite having that crucial backing, the bureau would have been forced to close for up to two days a week if it had not found the additional funding.
This is why it applied to the Government’s Advice Service Fund. It compensates charities offering free advice services that suffered a reduction in funding from a taxpayer source in 2011 compared to 2010.
Applicants had to illustrate a reduction in funding of at least ten per cent and could bid for amounts from £40,000 to £70,000 to be used by the end of March 2013.
For more information about the CAB’s services call 08444 770808.