Mansfield District Council has agreed a package of support measures to ensure the services provided by Mansfield Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) and Nottingham Credit Union (NCU) can continue to operate within the District.
Both the CAB and NCU submitted applications to the Council for grant-in-aid in response to increased pressures brought about by the economic climate and the introduction of changes to national welfare benefits.
A funding package has been agreed to create a Welfare Rights Specialist who will work for the CAB to train a team of volunteers to help clients to appeal against benefit decisions. This post would be for 30 hours per week and has been funded for three years. Funding for the post for the current financial year (2013/14) at a value of £12,000 was agreed yesterday (14 October) by the Portfolio Holder for Resources and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Roger Sutcliffe. He has also agreed a recommendation to Council that £57,000 unallocated reserves be earmarked to provide funding for the post in 2014/15 (£23,000), 2015/16 (£23,000) and 2016/17 (£11,000).
The CAB currently receives £55,000 from the District Council, which supports the organisation’s running cost.
The grant-in-aid application from NCU was not approved but a package of support measures, aimed at helping boost membership which in turn will make the service self-sustaining, were agreed to be progressed. These include:
• Identifying premises which would provide the necessary location and profile to attract customers
• Explore funding opportunities for an apprentice post through the Council’s existing regeneration support programmes
• Assessing short term accommodation options at the Civic Centre
• Assessing the provision of administrative support for form checking within the Civic Centre
• Consideration of joining NCU as a Corporate Member and depositing up to £25,000 in an account
• Allowing NCU to use funds previously allocated to Maun Valley Credit Union for a private sector bond scheme in return for NCU taking responsibility for administration of the scheme and recovery of sums outstanding
• Assessing the possibility of using NCU to provide a private sector bond scheme with referrals from the Multi- Agency Rented Solutions (MARS) project
• Providing a loan facility for the purchase of premises
• Involvement in the East Midlands Credit Union scheme to encourage council tenants to make regular savings for which NCU is an agent
Cllr Roger Sutcliffe, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Deputy Mayor, said: “I think it is really important in these tough times we do what we can to help preserve what is a vital source of independent help and advice for many of our residents. The support measures offered by the Council will ensure that NCU is able to continue to operate within the District and the CAB can assist the increasing number of people seeking support and advice relating to benefits.”