CITIZENS Advice has just launched an innovative new project in conjunction with West Dorset Mencap, which aims to help people with learning difficulties and their families deal with any financial problems they may face.
Nothing similar is available in this area. Dedicated sessions are taking place every Friday from 10am to 1pm at the Citizens Advice offices at South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NY and they are led by an experienced adviser, Sarah Silcox.
Appointments can also be arranged at the weekly advice sessions held in Lyme Regis every Wednesday from 10am to 3pm at St Michael’s Business Centre, DT7 3DB, in the centre of the town.
At least until December Citizens Advice is also holding sessions on Mondays between 10am and 12noon at Lyme Regis Medical Centre in Uplyme Road, DT7 3LS.
Rovarn Wickremasinghe, manager of Bridport and District Citizens Advice, said: “We are delighted to be working with West Dorset Mencap.
“We expect that the demand for this new service will come particularly from those experiencing difficulties with the benefits system and wanting to know whether they are getting the correct amount. We can also offer assistance managing finances.
“Whenever appropriate we can refer people to our specialist casework teams on benefits and debt and we also have an experienced adviser able to offer help with employment enquiries.”
For those wanting to find out more about this project there is now a dedicated telephone line available on 01308 424930.
Ms Silcox, a volunteer adviser with Citizens Advice since February 2015, has been involved this year with developing a financial capability pilot study for all its clients facing debt problems.
West Dorset Mencap is based in East Street, Bridport and aims to support those with a learning disability living in the region. It regularly supports community projects, such as the workshops at Bridport Arts Centre and grant requests for individuals who are setting up their own home and need to buy equipment.
Bridport and District Citizens Advice has a new chairman, Tony Rogers, who has strong Dorset roots. Born in Weymouth, he served for 25 years with Dorset Police, including a spell covering the Bridport and District area, reaching the rank of Chief Superintendent. He later became Assistant Chief Constable of the South Wales Police, with the portfolio of specialist crime.
From April 2002 until June 2008 he was a non-executive director of the Dorset and Somerset Strategic Area Health Authority, and held positions on the Audit and Corporate Governance and Remuneration Committees.
Mr Rogers became a trustee of Citizens Advice two years ago and has taken over as chairman from Bryan Brown.
He said: “The work of a trustee with Citizens Advice is very rewarding, ensuring that the volunteers and staff are supplied with all the tools they need to undertake their valuable role advising the people of Bridport, Lyme Regis, Beaminster and District.
“I feel privileged to work with so many talented, experienced and enthusiastic people. They are people who give up their time and share their life’s experiences and skills to ensure our local Citizens Advice remains at the forefront of giving independent free advice to those that need help.”
Anyone is welcome to visit Citizens Advice, even if they do not have an appointment, and the advice provided is always free, confidential and impartial.
In addition to the sessions in Lyme Regis you can visit the offices at South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NY every weekday between 10am and 3pm. You can contact Citizens Advice by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0344 245 1291, which will get you through to the Dorset AdviceLine.