Bracknell could lose Citizens Advice Bureau unless more cash is foundBy Jennie Slevin
January 16, 2013
A free service which offers confidential advice on issues such as debt, relationships, legal rights and much more may be in danger unless its funding increases.
The Bracknell & District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) revealed it is forecasting a deficit of £12,000 this year, despite a rise in the number of people seeking help.
Rhiannon Stocking-Williams, chief executive, said Bracknell CAB has managed to maintain all of its funding but it will be a struggle to continue because of the rising costs of running the charity.
She said: “We’ve not been able to give any of our staff a pay increase over the last few years because we’re getting the same amount of money, but the price of living is going up.
“You can only go so far until you have to look at staffing costs.
“If we can’t find more money from somewhere then we’ll have to do something to fill the gap.”
She added: “We want to be able to help as many people as possible so it’s difficult to make the decision to cut staff hours.
“Last year we helped around 3,000 people, but that’s about 16,000 issues and our figures are just going to go up and up.
“Especially with the new welfare reforms coming in, more people are going to need our help.
“We’re going to have to advise so many more people with the same amount of funding, because it would be pretty ironic if we had to make cuts when people need us most.”
The charity has now started to look for new ways of raising money so it can continue to give advice to those who need it.
Rhiannon thinks taking advantage of the large businesses in Bracknell is a good place to start. She said: “We need to go to those corporate businesses and ask, what value can we add to you?
“We can help staff to ensure they have happy, confident workers and in return they could help us.”
She added: “Most of our money comes from our primary funders like the council.
“They’ve actually kept our funding the same for the last three or four years, which is very good because some other boroughs have made direct cuts to their CABs.
“We’ve also made an application to the lottery fund.
“But we need as much funding as possible so we can develop the service to help more clients.”
Bracknell and District CAB is due to reopen for the new year after moving to new offices in Market Street on Monday at 10am.
For more information go to www.bracknellcab.org.uk.