City Council proposes to uphold CAB funding in tough times

December 23, 2013 12:04 PM

T Sarah Brownhe Liberal Democrat-run Cambridge City Council is proposing to award a grant of just over £250,000 to the Cambridge and District Citizens' Advice Bureau for another year to help with running costs.

Grant funding is set to be decided at the council's Community Services Scrutiny Committee in January, where the committee will discuss proposed funding grants for charities, community groups and the voluntary sector, and make recommendations to grants portfolio holder, Councillor Sarah Brown, on which grants to award.

The report to councillors suggests awarding £255,020 to the CAB to help deliver services to the public including advice on benefits, debt, employment and housing.

This grant comes at a time when the council is facing unprecedented pressure on its budget, due to receiving less money from government. At the committee options for updating the criteria by which grants are awarded to community organisations are to be considered, with grant recipients to be consulted on changes to take effect from 2015 onwards.

Sarah Brown, Lib Dem lead for Community Wellbeing, said, "The city council currently faces tremendous pressure on its resources, and focusing them on helping those most affected by difficult economic times reflects our liberal values. Now is the time to take a fresh look at how we award grants, and how best we can use our limited resources to support the vulnerable and excluded in society. The changes we're proposing will give priority to those organisations best placed to help those most at risk from austerity.

"We're committed to partnership working with organisations like the CAB, which does fantastic work helping those also struggling through difficult times. I'm pleased to see that council is proposing to continue the CAB's funding, when this service is more important than ever. We're also consulting on making legal advice services a key priority in future years."

Rachel Talbot, CEO of Cambridge & District CAB said: "We're absolutely delighted that Cambridge City Council is continuing to support our work with city residents. Last year our trained advisers helped 8,350 local people to solve over 22,500 different issues, and a further 32,800 accessed our advice website. The City Council has also supported the installation of eight advice hub self-help touchscreen kiosks at various community locations which allowed 52,155 residents to access advice from within their own communities. They also funded a Specialist Benefits Adviser who manages a caseload of benefits enquiries and represents clients at appeals in exceptionally complex cases.

"The work done by our advisers supports people at difficult times in their lives, helping them to deal with a variety of issues such as debt, housing, family relationships, employment and benefits by unpicking the root of any problem, and helping them to find a way forward. For many people, this support can mean the difference between managing finances so they don't have to choose between eating and heating, or the prevention of homelessness by negotiating with landlords or helping people to get the right benefits. So the funding we receive from the City Council is crucial for us to continue to run this valuable city service."

The council's scrutiny committee will meet on 16th of January to discuss the recommended grant funding.

CONTACT: Sarah Brown - 07775 762480

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