Two Citizens Advice groups have merged to form one organisation to cover South Lincolnshire
Following a year when the South Kesteven and South Holland Citizens Advice services shared a chief officer and a chair, both trustee boards have now agreed to formally merge, under the new name of Citizens Advice South Lincolnshire.
Covering a wide area, full advice services will be maintained locally at the current office in Spalding, Grantham and Stamford, with a number of outreach services covering Bourne, Market Deeping, Deeping St James, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Stamford Hospital, St Mary’s GP surgery Stamford, and the Curlew Centre at Sutton Bridge.
CAB say the advantages of a merger for the client will be a structure across the whole of south Lincolnshire, allowing them to access services through the route of their choice, whether that is face to face, online, or on the phone, while the wider pool of support caseworkers will be able to maintain specialist services.
The new organisation will be able to streamline accounting, training and HR services, share good practise, and report into one merged board.
The ability to bid for new funding will also be transformed by the formation of a larger organisation, something which will become even more important in the future.
The two organisations have recently been successful in winning a joint Big Lottery funding award of £250,000 to provide a new advice service for migrant workers.
“I am very pleased this decision has been taken,” said Lisa Barwell, chief officer. “It allows the new organisation to maintain the face to face service from both volunteers and specialist advisors in all our current locations, while we can make plans to develop enhanced services for the future, through working more efficiently with modern technology and developing new partnerships.”
South Kesteven and South Holland between them dealt with a total of 13,992 enquiries from 10,573 clients during the 12 months to March 31, across a wide range from consumer issues to relationships, with the highest number of concerns dealing with benefits, debt, housing and employment.
Adrian Arnold, the chair of both boards, emphasised the great efforts that have already gone into dealing with issues such as due diligence, and added, “Over the next few months our staff, volunteers and trustees will be working extremely hard to implement the decision we have just taken, and we are all confident that the new organisation will allow us to help our clients better throughout South Lincolnshire, with whatever challenges they face going forward.”