£160,000 boost saves Hartlepool’s Citizens’ Advice service

Joe Michna pictured utside the Park Road citizens advice bureau.
Joe Michna pictured utside the Park Road citizens advice bureau.

THE short term future of a advice service has been secured thanks to a £160,000 funding boost.

Bosses at Hartlepool Citizens’ Advice Bureau, in Park Road, are celebrating after receiving the vital boost from the Big Lottery Fund.

The grant is for £159,099 over a three-year period and chiefs say it is great news for the bureau as they have suffered financial problems over the last 18-months after Hartlepool Borough Council funding was withdrawn.

The Big Lottery Fund grant will pay for part of the manager’s salary, part of the administrator’s salary and two days salary for the service’s recruitment and training officer.

Joe Michna, manager of Hartlepool CAB, said the funding boost could not have come at a better time and say their financial situation is now more “secure”.

The town centre bureau provides a wide variety of services to residents including help with debt advice, housing and tenancy support and employment tribunal claims.

Mr Michna said: “Given the financial difficulties that the bureau has been through during the last two years or so, this is terrific news and means that our financial situation is now more secure.

“At one stage the organisation was on the brink of closure, but with determination and the support of the local community, we have survived.

“We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund and this news could not have come at a better time.”

It has been a positive couple of weeks for Hartlepool CAB after it was confirmed earlier this week that one of its services had been saved from the axe after winning vital funding.

The housing advice and tenancy support project was facing closure – but is now celebrating its 15th anniversary after winning £162,789 from The Northern Rock Foundation.

The service was launched in 1998 to find affordable and decent accommodation for homeless people by offering a bond or deposit guarantee to private landlords.

During 2012-13 the project had 1,690 client inquiries, 316 new applications for help with finding accommodation, 83 bond guarantees issued and financial gains for clients totalling £193,186.

Speaking earlier this week, Mr Michna, said the foundation had already provided the project with six-years’ funding and that staff at the bureau were “delighted” when the Northern Rock Foundation recognised the value of the service to the homeless and the potentially homeless.

Hartlepool CAB is also appealing for local residents to offer their services as a volunteer with the organisation.

Mr Michna said: “We are seeking to recruit volunteers who are interested in training to become advice workers and gateway assessors and we offer full and comprehensive training and support for new volunteers.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the recruitment and training officer, Janet Noble, on (01429) 408417 or email: tutor@hartlepool.cabnet.org.uk

Further information is also available on the website at www.hartlepool-cab.co.uk