CAB will need to '˜rely more on volunteers' after funding cut

The Citizens Advice Bureau says it will have to '˜rely even more heavily on our volunteers' after its funding was reduced.

Mid Lincs CAB CEO Stuart Hellon.
Mid Lincs CAB CEO Stuart Hellon.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive has agreed to continue funding the service but will be cutting more than £68,000 from its grant.

Over the last two financial years, the council has provided funding of £684,594 per annum, with the current agreement expiring in March 2017.

The executive agreed to slice 10 per cent off that figure for the next financial year, to reflect the increased financial challenges the council is facing.

This means the CABs in the county - including the Mid Lincolnshire service provided by the merger of Boston and Sleaford last year - will lose out to the tune of £68,459 for 2017-2018.

Chief executive officer for CAB Mid Lincs Stuart Hellon said they were grateful to still be getting funding as some authorities around the country have cut local CAB grants completely.

He said: “We appreciate the pressure the council is under. We will work with them to provide the best service possible with the limited funding.

“We will be relying even more heavily on our volunteers to help us through.”

In The Mid Lincolnshire CAB, they employ 25 staff but have 100 volunteers.

Mr Hellon said any reduction in funding adds pressure, but they would look at delivering some services in different ways to ensure there remains a ‘face to face’ service for those that need it.

This may mean offering alternative online or telephone services for those not necessarily needing to meet someone to discuss their issues, freeing up staff time.

Mr Hellon added that funding from organisations such as the Big Lottery Fund was also becoming more difficult to access as it was getting four times as many requests as three years ago.

Executive councillor for community engagement Coun Sue Woolley explained: “In these difficult times, we need to review all the grants we issue and how effective they are on a regular basis.

“But whilst we are facing difficult financial times, we also recognise that residents in the county face their own challenges.

“Having free support in place for when people are going through difficulties – be those financial, legal, housing or family problems - is a valuable asset in our county.

“I’m pleased we can continue to provide funding to Citizens Advice in Lincolnshire. County councillors who scrutinised the plans are also keen for the service to engage with them in order to discuss local issues and promote wider engagement with local communities.”