Petition to get £47,000 Citizens Advice Bureau funding reinstated reaches more than 900 signatures
PUBLISHED: 14:28 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:28 17 February 2020
More than 900 people have signed a petition to save the Ely branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau after the council scrapped a £47,000 grant.
John Shippey, of Haddenham, launched the online petition at the start of the month.
It comes after East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) voted to axe the yearly funding for Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire (CARC).
It is feared that the impact of this could also lead to the closure of the Ely CAB branch.
In the first week of the petition being launched, 538 people had already signed it.
Mr Shippey believes "the council will be wasting public funds by employing and training staff to replace the free service provided by the CAB's many, experienced volunteers".
Chief officer of CARC, Nick Blencowe, also raised concerns that some residents might find it difficult speaking to ECDC instead of someone independent.
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He said: "Some of our current clients have an issue with local council and would not feel comfortable approaching the council for advice or support."
One resident who signed the petition added: "CAB provides a very important, impartial service with much expertise to everyone."
But ECDC say that around 80 per cent of support such as debt, benefits and housing advice "overlap and duplicate" with their own services.
Lewis Bage, communities and partnerships manager at ECDC, said: "The council has a track record for delivering against the needs of its residents."
The petition can be found at https://bit.ly/38BdScc