Fears for Falmouth Citizen Advice Bureau due to funding cuts

First published in Falmouth/Penryn

There are fears over the future of Falmouth’s Citizen Advice Bureau after government cuts led to all staff being made redundant and the service being restructured across the county.

Falmouth Town Council will debate the issue at their meeting on Monday night (March 18) after concerns were raised at the annual town meeting this week.

In a letter to council, Andrina Cossey, a volunteer with the CAB, claimed: “We are looking at a situation where there may be no CAB on the High Street in Falmouth from the end of March.

“There is a definite move towards telephone advice rather than face-to-face drop-in sessions. While almost all our clients have phones, even mobiles, the most vulnerable and the poor cannot afford to have any credit on their phones and some have nowhere to charge them. Many, especially elderly or disabled, find using phones very difficult and will be discriminated against.”

The Packet was told yesterday, however, that no decisions had yet been made over the future of the service. Sue Swift, chairman of the CAB Cornwall Trust Board, said: “Due to reduced funding we are having to restructure the way that we provide the service to the community.

“There has been no firm decision made as to how that is going to done. There will still be a service in Falmouth, what form that will take I cannot tell you at the moment.

“We have a new CEO in place now and he has been looking at it and working with senior management, working on the days and hours the service will be provided.

“We have funding that we are very grateful for from Cornwall Council and we are having to work the service around the funding we have got.”

News of the uncertainty surrounding the service in Falmouth was met with concern by town councillors. Gerald Chin-Quee said: “It has always been an extremely valuable service and never more so than in this time. Its loss would be a real tragedy – more than a tragedy.

“If it goes, that service will be gone for all those people who do need it now and will be needing it in the future.”

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