Advice closure move slammed

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A community group has expressed concern after Arran’s citizens advice service was forced to close its doors.

Funding cuts led to the immediate closure of the National Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service (NACAS), which was held every Monday morning at the Ormidale Pavilion, as reported in the Banner last month.

It means island residents can now only get consumer advice or help with benefits and debt worries by phone or by travelling to the mainland.

At Arran Community Council last week members expressed concern  at the closure. Shiskine member Marilyn Woods said: ‘Not to have a face to face service is a really, really retrograde step’.

She said the service was well used and was a ‘requirement for the community’. She added: ‘It was run on the shoestring and the only expenditure was a phoneline and some travelling expenses.’

Members heard that the changes in the way advice services were funded by the council meant the citizens advice contract for had come to an end and that the services would now be put out to competitive tender.

Chairman Bill Calderwood said: ‘The withdrawal of this service is just wrong. We need to monitor how these services are funded.’