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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Calls to replace Ulverston advice ‘lifeline’ following closure

FEARS over the impact of the closure of Ulverston’s Citizens Advice Bureau has led to urgent calls for a new service to be put in place.

Trustees of Citizens Advice South Lakeland announced on Wednesday it was going into liquidation, meaning the centres in Ulverston and Kendal will soon close.

While the move was seen by some as inevitable, it leaves vulnerable people in the area with reduced services available and places an additional burden on the remaining citizens’ advice services in the South Lakes.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “This loss will be deeply worrying for people.

“There is an urgent need to restore an effective face-to-face service for the people of Ulverston as soon as possible.”

Former Ulverston CAB volunteer Roger Lindsay said: “This will leave a lot of people without a lifeline.”

The centres in Ulverston and Kendal are due to close in the coming weeks and Cumbria Rural Citizens Advice, which has centres in Windermere and Grange, is braced for an influx of calls for help.

Dare Holland, vice chair of trustees at Cumbria Rural, said discussions between the two bureaux over how to provide a simpler district-wide service predate CASL’s funding crisis.

He said: “We have been working for some time to devise a service that would be sturdy, viable and robust going into the future. Now Cumbria Rural will be left with implementing that service.”

There are plans to retain face-to-face services in Ulverston and Kendal on an appointment basis when the new service is implemented in April.

Mr Holland added: “Cumbria Rural is in discussions with South Lakeland District Council regarding the use of premises in Ulverston.”

CASL chair of trustees John Dersley said they had made every effort to keep people informed in recent months and worked to ensure a service is still available to those who need it.

Anyone needing help can contact Cumbria Rural or there are citizens advice bureaux in Barrow and Millom.

National website www.adviceguide.org.uk provides an alternative service.

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