ASHFIELD householders who are experiencing money worries, employment issues or family break down can get advice from a new helpline launched this week.
The free advice line has been launched by Ashfield Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) in partnership with other branches in Mansfield, Ollerton and Bassetlaw.
The helpline offers confidential and impartial advice from Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm.
Earlier this year, Chad reported that Ashfield CAB had suffered a major funding shortfall, including grant cuts from Nottinghamshire County Council.
The bureau has also been forced to axe its outreach service and reduce sessions at the Sutton office.
This week, Ashfield CAB chief executive Sue Davis said the advice line could help more people more quickly.
She said: “Everybody gets a gateway interview which is a quick question and answer session to establish their immediate need.”
Once the client’s needs have been established, they will either be offered advice over the phone, referred to a relevant organisation or asked to come into their local branch for further help.
At present, everyone who contacts Ashfield CAB is given a face-to-face gateway interview.
Sue says: “In our experience, we do gateway interviews with everybody who comes through the door.
“About 35 per cent of them need to come back and about 15 per cent of those need a specialist debt appointment.”
But with more than 50 per cent of people not needing another appointment, it is hoped that the service can be more efficient.
“Those that have got the most urgent need are being targeted,” says Sue.
The new advice line means that people in other parts of the county can speak to an advisor in Ashfield, while people in Ashfield are able to speak to an advisor in another part of Nottinghamshire.
The new system means that there will be more coverage throughout the area because people sometimes struggled to get through on branch number.
Sue said: “It was quite mixed and depended on whether you had got enough volunteers, whereas now if the phone is busy it gets kicked over to another bureau.”
To use the new advice line call 0844 856 3411. The drop-in sessions will continue to take place in Sutton Monday to Wednesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm.