Request for funds to trial an outreach

Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice

The potential for Citizens Advice Northumberland outreach sessions at a community venue in Ponteland has been discussed at a town council meeting.

Abi Conway, who has been in the chief executive role at the charity for six months, spoke with councillors and answered questions.

She provided 2017/18 statistics for the area covering the four Ponteland county council wards. A total of 259 clients were supported by Citizens Advice Northumberland, which provides free, confidential and impartial advice on big issues affecting people’s lives.

The top five issues among theses clients were benefits and tax credits, debt, financial services and capability, housing and relationships and family.

A trial period for six months or a year was suggested by a couple of the councillors and following the meeting, Mrs Conway submitted a request to the town council for financial support to ‘enable us to run an outreach in Ponteland from a well-used local venue to respond to both current demand and in preparation for the Universal Credit roll-out in November and December’.

Speaking to the Herald this week, she said: “Over the last few years, we have seen a reduction in real time funding of 30 per cent due to contracts coming to a natural end and an increasingly competitive funding landscape.

“However, we are very grateful to have continued to receive the support from the county council, as well as town and parish councils across the county.

“Funding to help our volunteers support clients with digital inclusion is becoming increasingly important, as there are an increasing number of digital platforms in operation such as Jobcentre Plus’ Universal Credit digital account.”