A public service which has provided a lifeline to people across the region is appealing for financial and practical help following reorganisation.
Three of the six branches of the Citizens Advice service in Northumberland amalgamated to form Northumbrian CAB, which launched on April 1.
The new organisation has taken over delivery of advice services from Alnwick, Berwick and West Northumberland CAB and hopes to build on their reputation for delivering high quality information and advice services with a strong local focus.
The charity is now appealing for financial and practical support to enable it to offer its wide range of services more widely across the county.
Along with free advice on issues such as benefits, debt, housing, health and education, Northumbrian CAB provides support on personal matters including discrimination, divorce, redundancy and bereavement.
Its team, which is made up of a small number of salaried staff and a large number of trained volunteers, also works in tandem with other local networks and partnerships to ensure those in need have direct access to support and advice. There are hopes the merger will enable it to use resources more effectively, leading to better services and greater financial stability.
All the CAB services are reliant on charitable funding and now Northumbrian CAB is appealing for additional support to help it continue its vital work.
“Whatever a person is going through, however hopeless they feel their situation to be, the CAB can help,” said new bureau manager Moira Macfarlane.
“However, because we rely so heavily on volunteers and donations, at present we can only help a small percentage of the local population.
“We know that in the current climate the number of people who need our support is far greater, so we would urge anyone who can to help by donating or by volunteering.”
Northumbrian CAB was supported through the merger by Newcastle-based Square One Law. In addition to carrying out due diligence work and preparing transfer documentation, the company provided detailed advice on a range of issues including property and employment matters.
“Square One Law was very supportive of the aims of the Citizens Advice Service and their experience of working with voluntary sector organisations was evident,” said Moira. “It was due to their support and professionalism that the merger went smoothly.”