Huntingdonshire CAB services to be provided by Rural Cambridgeshire

THE Hunts Post has been shown documentation that gives funding to Rural Cambridgeshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau to provide advice services across Huntingdonshire.

Applications had been made to Huntingdonshire District Council for funding to replace Huntingdonshire CAB, which will close on Friday (November 30). Newly-formed charity Ouse Valley Advice (OVA) had applied for funding to provide services, but will not receive any money from HDC.

Instead, Rural Cambridgeshire Citizens Advice Bureau, which already runs advice services in Wisbech and Ely, has been recommended to receive �115,000 over three-years, with services starting in April.

Chairman of OVA, Diane Alder, said: “We haven’t officially heard yet, but if this is the case we hope that come next year Rural Cambs CAB will provide as good a service as we put in our bid. Particularly in St Neots, the largest town in Huntingdonshire and rapidly expanding, if there isn’t face-to-face contact on offer then that isn’t going to be good.”

HDC’s executive leader, Councillor Jason Ablewhite, confirmed that the new service would have a physical presence in St Neots.

“I think the decision is the right one and will lead to a continuation of service,” he said yesterday (Tuesday). “There will still be a physical presence in town and I don’t think services will suffer.”

Beverley Howard, chief officer at Rural Cambs CAB, added: “We are focused on offering the best possible service for clients. We submitted a bid that would provide access to CAB services throughout Huntingdonshire, face-to-face, by telephone and on the internet.”

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She said neighbouring CAB offices were working together to ensure help was available to anyone needing advice during the period following the closure of Hunts CAB and the start of the new service.

Other voluntary groups recommended for funding in the decision notice document were Hunts Disability Information Service, Hunts Forum for Voluntary Organisations, Care Network, Huntingdon Volunteer Centre and Huntingdon Shopmobility. Those that were unsuccessful included Life after Debt, St Barnabas Community Learning Centre, Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue and Bridge Money Advice and Counselling Service.

The recommendations will be evaluated by HDC members next week, with official results published the week after.

Huntingdonshire CAB was put into administration as it could not fund a shortfall in its local government pension scheme.

INFORMATION: Money Advice Clinics are still taking place in Huntingdonshire at 6 All Saints’ Passage, Huntingdon, on Thursdays between 9am and noon. For further details call 01480 388900.