Advice service returns to guard against cuts

County Councillor Paul Stradling
County Councillor Paul Stradling

A VITAL service has been reinstated thanks to the intervention of a councillor who says it is needed more than ever to ward against welfare reforms.

East Durham Citizens’ Advice Bureau, based in Peterlee, was forced to cut some of its outreach services earlier this year after it struggled to find the £40,000 a year to run them.

But Durham County Councillor for Horden Paul Stradling has ploughed £5,500 into re-instating the Horden outreach service.

He says it is needed more than ever to help people guard against changes during next year’s welfare reforms – and comes as hundreds of poverty-stricken families are turning to foodbanks and more are getting into debt.

Coun Stradling said: “I think the cuts planned in respect of welfare reforms reveal a savage attack on working class families and they need some sort of defence against these changes that are due to start in mid-2013.

“I think we need something in place to help them deal with these particular cuts and we need something like the CAB to take up that fight.

The Hartlepool Mail reported in March that East Durham CAB was being forced to close some of its 15 outreach services – despite a hike in the numbers of people needing its help.

East Durham CAB chief executive Neil Bradbury said:”Hundreds of people have used our service in Horden.

“Debt has been the main problem traditionally, while clients are also having problems with issues like payday lenders.

“We have also had people wanting to know how the new benefit changes will affect them.

“We are really grateful, it means more people can be helped in the community and is a nice Christmas present for us and our clients.

The outreach services will run from Roseby Road Community Centre and Horden Youth and Community Centre.

Sessions will run from 1-3pm.

The Roseby Road sessions will run on the first Wednesday of every month, starting January 2 and the youth centre sessions will be held on the second and third Wednesday, starting January 9 and then January 16.