Kingston appoints Citizens Advice to run information service

KINGSTON Council has awarded a contract for information and advice services to Citizens Advice Kingston.

The new service, which will launch on 1 April, is intended to complement existing council and community services by offering free, impartial advice on issues such as housing, welfare benefits and debt.

It is the first time a contract for the service has been awarded by a commissioning approach.

Citizens Advice Kingston has worked in the borough for 70 years. Last year alone, it helped over 3,850 people, with another 6,000 using its One Click online service. Ninety-eight per cent were either happy or very happy with the service they received.

Cllr Julie Picking, portfolio holder for partnerships, said: "We're committed to helping the most vulnerable people in Kingston and Kingston's Citizens Advice Bureau has an excellent record of support our residents.

"We look forward to working with them and other local partners to deliver this much-needed service for our residents."

Henry Crisp, chair of Citizens Advice Kingston, added: "This is good news for residents and a great relief to everyone who works and volunteers for Citizens Advice Kingston. Our focus has always been on the welfare of local residents, providing free and impartial advice that has empowered tens of thousands of people over the years.

"We believe that our organisation, with paid staff working alongside trained and experienced volunteers, provides the ideal model to carry on meeting the needs of our community in these cash-strapped times."