Petition to get £47,000 Citizens Advice Bureau funding reinstated reaches 538 signatures within a week

Ely branch of Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire (CARC) is pictured alongside Michael Mealing, cha

Ely branch of Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire (CARC) is pictured alongside Michael Mealing, chair of CARC. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

More than 500 people have signed a petition to get the Ely branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau its £47,000 council grant reinstated.

John Shippey, of Haddenham, launched the online petition a week ago after East Cambs Council voted to axe the CAB funding with the promise that they can do it bigger and better.

He says the funding cut would result in either the CAB office closing or its service being reduced. In the week since Mr Shippey set the petition up, more than 583 people have signed it.

The district council says the £47,000 originally proposed would be used as part of proposals to enlarge and deliver the same service itself.

"From April 2020, residents will have access to a full and extended range of advice services every weekday." said a council spokesman last month.

However 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".

He decided to set up the petition because "judging by the other letters published in the Ely Standard, and by the conversations which I have had, there seems to be a lot of opposition to this decision - so I decided to start an online petition to check.

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"Please may I emphasise that the council will not recognise signatories unless they live, work or study in the East Cambs area.

"So if readers would like to sign I would be grateful if they use a relevant East Cambridgeshire postal code when they do."

Michael Mealing, chair of Citizens Advice Rural Cambridgeshire (CARC), said: "We have had a good relationship with the district council for a number of years.

"This news came completely out the blue to us - we had no idea.

"We are a small independent charity and the local authority is our biggest funder."

Ann Mitchell, who signed the petition, said: "It is service needed by many especially those in their own or struggling with money, and the vulnerable in our society."

Lynne Collins added: "The CAB is an imperative source for our area on all manner of situations. To loose such a resource would put do many individuals at a loss to information, help and advise."

Liz Walliker said: "It's essential for people, especially those who can't afford or access a solicitor or other professional help."

To sign the petition click here.