As I hear that Bude Citizens Advice is to finally close its doors at Neetside (though some service is to be provided at The Haven) I read that Citizens Advice services across England and Wales are today celebrating sharing £625,000 from the Martin Lewis Fund to help make a real difference to local people’s lives. It is a sad thing that Citizens Advice has diminished in Bude (and I write as an ex advisor) though a service remains in Holsworthy, Bideford and of course, Exeter. Once you lose something, it rarely makes a return. You can get some help online. These are the local bureaux.
Anyway, for the rest of the country, the good news is that awards of £25,000 are being given to 25 local Citizens Advice services to deliver projects that will provide more support to particular groups of people and help them in new and inventive ways.
Local Citizens Advice will be able to share their learning and potentially encourage others to launch similar projects so that more clients across England and Wales benefit.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“We are delighted to be able to announce this funding to 25 Citizens Advice services. The funding will give them a chance to build on what they have already achieved with their pilot projects. Not only will the funding help local people to solve their problems, but the local services will capture what works well and share their learning so that other people across England and Wales may also benefit. We’re very grateful to Martin Lewis for his ongoing support.”
Martin Lewis said:
“Few realise Citizens Advice, which is at the bedrock of British society, is a charity not a government agency – a shame as the work it does is truly life saving. I’ve met many people who were suicidal over legal or money life challenges they couldn’t cope with, yet a visit to their local Citizens Advice put them on the path to dealing with it. As a huge fan of the organisation, I wanted to do something to help it pioneer new ways to reach out and improve people’s lives, and I’m excited to see where this takes us.”
That said, Martin, if the CAB was government-funded, then it could not really be impartial, could it?
The awards announced today follow an initial award of £1,000 in September 2015 to test initial project ideas. The funding comes from a £1 million donation from Martin Lewis to Citizens Advice across the UK in 2015.
Projects had to fit into categories including making people more digitally skilled, working closely with health and social care providers, and future opportunities for volunteers.
The 25 Citizens Advice services include Citizens Advice Exeter.