Advice outreach centre foiled

A WELFARE charity which provides independent financial advice has had its plans for an outreach centre for villages around Weston dented by a lack of support.

The town’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau branch appealed for money to launch the five-hour-a-week drop-in service at Winscombe Community Centre.

The service would cost �5,426 in its first year and serve residents living in Winscombe, Banwell, Churchill and Blagdon.

In a letter to parish councils, bureau director Anne Richards said there was ‘significant’ numbers of people who would use the facility.

But the idea may have already been scuppered after community leaders in Banwell said they would not support the idea.

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At a parish council meeting, deputy chairman Angela Haden said: “I just don’t think people in Banwell would go to Winscombe just for the drop-in service.

“There is no difference in distance and there is much more in Weston to warrant a visit.”

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Winscombe Parish Council sparked the idea after results from its parish survey revealed people would want such a service in their village.

Clerk Lynne Rampton said: “We support the idea, but cannot afford to meet the cost on our own which is why neighbouring councils are being asked to help.

“It will be disappointing if we cannot get the plan off the ground, I think a lot of people would benefit from it.”

Of the �5,426 cost estimated by the bureau, �4,186 would be for staff and �1,000 would be for office and communication costs.

In the letter to parish councils, Ms Richards said: “Constituents are not aware of, or concerned, by artificial ward boundaries when it comes to seeking advice for their often complex problems.

“If such as service was situated in Winscombe I am sure people from neighbouring villages would use it rather than make the journey into Weston into our very busy office.”

Last year, the Mercury reported how the Weston branch of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, based in The Badger Centre, had dealt with 1,800 cases during 2009.

The independent organisation tries to see people within three weeks of asking for an appointment because of debt problems.

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