Fi­nal day for ad­vice ser­vice HQ

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The Galloway News - - NEWS - Stu­art Gille­spie

The Ste­wartry’s only Cit­i­zens Ad­vice of­fice will close to­day.

The base in Cas­tle Dou­glas has been open for half a cen­tury but bud­get cuts mean it will shut for good at 5pm.

Staff were con­sulted ear­lier this month on the pos­si­ble clo­sure due to “quite sig­nif­i­cant” cuts.

To re­place the St An­drew Street of­fice, the ser­vice will be run­ning weekly drop-in ses­sions at the coun­cil’s cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tres around the Ste­wartry.

Peo­ple will also be able to make ap­point­ments to meet staff.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Dum­fries and Gal­loway Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Ser­vice, Sue Irv­ing, said: “This has been a very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for our board of di­rec­tors.

“I am aware that there has been a bu­reau op­er­at­ing in Cas­tle Dou­glas since around 1968 that has served the pop­u­la­tion of the Ste­wartry well with ad­vice, sup­port and guid­ance from great staff and vol­un­teers.

“How­ever, we will still be in the Ste­wartry as we will be de­liv­er­ing our ser­vices in a more ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient way through the use of shared premises and broad­en­ing our reach to in­clude ser­vices in Kirkcud­bright and Dal­beat­tie as well as Cas­tle Dou­glas.

“Ad v i c e w i l l be avail­able by drop-in and by ap­point­ment so we are as ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble for ev­ery­one. To make an ap­point­ment call 0300 303 4321.”

Cas­tle Dou­glas and Glenkens coun­cil­lor Iain Howie ques­tioned the move.

He said: “Will they be able to of­fer the same qual­ity of ser­vice? I have my doubts. Peo­ple in Dal­beat­tie and Kirkcud­bright may get a bet­ter ser­vice but in Cas­tle Dou­glas they won’t.

“I also have to ques­tion the fa­cil­i­ties they are us­ing. If you are go­ing to the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bu­reau then you may be fairly anx­ious and these are pub­lic ar­eas.”

The Kirkcud­bright cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tre will of­fer drop-in ses­sions from 10am to 1pm on a Mon­day with ap­point­ments avail­able from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

The ser­vice will move to Cas­tle Dou­glas cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tre on a Tues­day with the drop-in from 9.30am to 12.30pm and ap­point­ments from 1.30pm to 4pm.

There will also be a Wed­nes­day drop-in at Cas­tle Dou­glas from 1pm to 4pm. On Thurs­day there will be a drop-in from 9.30am to 1pm in Dal­beat­tie.

And on Fri­day it’s back to Cas­tle Dou­glas with ap­point­ments avail­able from 9am to 12.30pm. There will be debt ad­vice ap­point­ment s f rom 12.30pm to 4.30pm.

Hard choice Sue Irv­ing

Ques­tions Iain Howie

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