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Citizen's Advice Bureau's across north Kent reveal serious funding fears

PUBLISHED: 12:20 09 June 2011

Citizens Advice Bureau

Nils Janson , Victoria Harney ,Suzy Wilson , Colin Logier  and  Yetunde Adeleye

Citizens Advice Bureau Nils Janson , Victoria Harney ,Suzy Wilson , Colin Logier and Yetunde Adeleye

Archant

»Drastic funding cuts to a vital charity assisting more than 10,000 people a year across north Kent could cause branches to close within a year.

Sevenoaks and Swanley Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) is desperately looking to raise money to prevent closure as the funding it receives has plummeted from around £90,000 in 2009/10 to a projected budget of around £70,000 next year.

Colin Logier, fundraising manager for bases in both towns which merged in 2009 to cut costs, warns this figure will not be enough to run the service.

Worries

He said: “If things continue this way we could be looking at closing next year. It is simply a case that if our liabilities – staff salaries and bills – overtake our funding we will have three months to shut down.”

A similar situation is experienced at Gravesend and Dartford branches, each supporting around 3,000 clients a year.

David Cheal, manager at Dartford said funding was secured this year, but the charity could experience a £50,000 shortfall in the next financial year threatening its existing service.

Gill Porter, manager at Gravesend branch, added: “It is inevitable. We only have two full-time members of staff and then volunteers, but volunteers cost money too. It is definitely a concern.”

The charity is funded primarily from grants from the local authorities such as Sevenoaks District Council, which are also looking at hugely reduced budgets following large funding cuts from the government.

“I have no criticism of Sevenoaks District Council, they are in just as difficult a position,” said Mr Logier. “People are all being affected and this is putting greater demands on the service.”

A council spokesman said it would be negotiating funding for the next three years and was keen to promote and maintain the service.

Jointly in 2010 they helped around 10,700 people with about 30,000 situations ranging from money problems, arranging benefit claims, housing issues and resolving employment disputes an increase of around 15 per cent on 2009.

To offer fundraising suggestions or make a donation contact Mr Logier at funding@sevenoaksdistrictcab.org.uk or on 01732 456100.

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