At cabinet meetings this week, councillors at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils gave the go ahead to support Citizens Advice (CA) with more than £420k.
Recognising the value of Citizens Advice which is estimated to have saved £8.1m across Suffolk, and with growing numbers turning to them for help - both councils have agreed a more sustainable funding approach with two three-year funding agreements.
Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet has granted Mid Suffolk Citizens Advice a minimum of £260,100, £86,700 a year, over a three year period starting in 2020/2021.
In Babergh, funds of at least £160,500 for Sudbury and District Citizens Advice were also given the green light over the same three-year period, equating to £53,500 per annum.
Smaller levels of funding for the Suffolk West, Diss and Ipswich CAs will continue to be agreed annually, with the individual CAs needing to apply for the money on a yearly basis.
Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for housing and communities for Mid Suffolk District Council, said:
“Mid Suffolk Citizens Advice are a really important partner for us, often providing a lifeline to members of our community in genuine need of help – including offering advice on debt management and arrears.
“We recognise their value in ensuring our district has a bright and healthy future, and hope this three-year agreement provides a more sustainable funding approach, in line with the aims in our Communities Strategy.”
Cabinet member for communities at Babergh District Council, Cllr Derek Davis, said:
“Our colleagues at Citizens Advice do amazing work to support Babergh’s residents when they perhaps need it most, offering expert advice and guidance on money matters and much more.
“We hope that with this longer-term funding, they can continue to deliver a much-needed service, helping our communities to thrive and be more self-sufficient, whilst also playing a key role in achieving the aims in our Communities Strategy.”
Exact amounts of funding will be confirmed in the early part of 2020, alongside funding to other voluntary sector providers, as part of the councils' grants programme.
The councils will also work with the Suffolk Cross Authority Citizens Advice Task and Finish Group - made up of councillors from Ipswich, Babergh, Mid Suffolk and West Suffolk councils with input from Suffolk County Council – which aims to provide a more consistent scrutiny approach to CA services across Suffolk.