Free advice services on hand

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Citizen’s Advice Causeway is urging people to seek help with their problems this New Year.

January is typically a busy time of year for the service, which is contracted by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, with financial assistance from the Department for Communities. It operates free of charge to the public, with advisors on hand to offer guidance on a range of issues including debt, employment, consumer issues, tax and housing.

But it is issues surrounding welfare benefits which most people seek help about, accounting for approximately 65% of all enquiries.

Clients often present with heart-breaking stories with many saying the guidance they receive has saved their lives.

Speaking about the facility, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey, said: “I would urge anyone in need of advice to make use of this facility, which is provided free of charge. The public can be assured they are benefiting from a confidential service which is entirely impartial. We are pleased to be in a position to support this local service which is dedicated to assisting our communities. The advice organisations across the Borough provide an invaluable service by helping local people find a way forward whatever problem they face. We cannot underestimate the difference they make to the lives of local people.”

This New Year, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is calling on people to take the first step and ask for help. There are a range of ways to get in touch, including by appointment, through the web site and home visits (dependent upon client circumstances). Specialist Advisers are available to assist local people with tribunal representation and debt intervention. Citizens Advice Causeway is based in Coleraine at the CRUN Building on Brook Street while outreach services are also provided in Ballymoney, Ballycastle, Bushmills and Cushendall.

The Coleraine office is open five days per week, along with a late evening opening every Thursday. Advice can be offered over the telephone by ringing 028 7034 4817. Every Monday, from 9.15am to 11.15am, the service’s outreach session operates in Bushmills Community Centre.

In Ballycastle, the service operates from Sheskburn House every Monday afternoon from 12.30pm to 4pm, on the second, third and fourth Tuesday of every month from 10am to 11.30am and 12.30pm to 4pm, Fridays from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. Friday afternoons are for pre-arranged appointments only.

In Cushendall, outreach sessions are held on outreach sessions are held on the first Tuesday of each month in the Old Schoolhouse from 10am to 11.30am and 12.30pm to 4pm. Outreach sessions are held in Ballymoney Town Hall every Monday from 2pm to 4pm and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.15am to 11.30am and 12.30pm to 5pm. Thursday afternoons are for pre-arranged appointments only.