**Citizens Advice Cosham Closure**

Press Release

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Citizens Advice Portsmouth will close its office in Northern Road, Cosham on Tuesday 28 February 2017. Citizens Advice has been providing much needed advice and support in the Cosham area since the start of the Second World War. 

The City Council stopped funding the Citizens Advice service in 2012, but with funding from the Big Lottery Fund, various philanthropic trusts and other bodies, Citizens Advice were able to carry on providing advice and support. Over the last 18 months, it has drawn on its reserves to keep this important service going but that is no longer possible. As a charity, Citizens Advice can’t run at a loss and has to balance the books. The board of directors have reluctantly decided that the Cosham closure is unavoidable. 

Citizens Advice Portsmouth knows that an effective advice service covering the Portsmouth mainland is needed as many people need advice and support. Clearly, there is a lot of poverty and deprivation on the Portsmouth mainland. Official data shows that a third of children and a quarter of people aged over 60 years experience poverty in Paulsgrove. In Cosham, 22% of children and 17% of people aged over 60 years also experience poverty. 

Derek Judd, Chair of the Board of Directors said:

“We are very sad and disappointed that we can’t continue providing services on the Portsmouth mainland. We know that there is a lot of demand in Paulsgrove and Cosham which is not currently being met. We are still providing money advice and some other services from our headquarters in Winston Churchill Avenue, but can’t cover all areas of advice.

“People can get help and advice from another body, Advice Portsmouth at Kingston Crescent , North End which is open every weekday. Alternatively, they can get free on-line help from the national Citizens Advice service on a wide range of subjects at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/  This highly successful website attracted 36 million visits in 2015/16.

Any enquiries about this press release, please contact Sandy O’Neill on 023 9285 5864

In the last year (2015/16):

  • Citizens Advice Portsmouth assisted 4,876 customers with 25,913 problems, at no cost to the City Council. Our  advice represented 26.6% of the total advice provided by the two main advice bodies in the City. .
  • Citizens Advice Portsmouth currently delivers 11 individual projects/contracts utilising around £490,000 of contracts to support over 4,800 customers each year. These funders/contractors include the Money Advice Service, Macmillan Cancer, Housing Solicitors, the Clinical Commissioning Group and Pensionwise.
  • These funded projects generated in excess of £2.5million for Portsmouth residents in 2015/16 through gaining benefit entitlements; getting debts written off and preventing homelessness - significantly improving people’s lives and spending power. As studies show, such money circulates in the local economy supporting local shops and services.
  • Citizens Advice Portsmouth volunteers contributed over 8600 hours of work to our advice operations valued at £257,000. 
  • The Citizens Advice brand is well respected and recognised – both nationally and locally - because of those high standards. This high recognition is regularly reflected in TV and newspaper reports, and in money and consumer programmes. Experts like Martin Lewis and Dominic Littlewood regularly advise people to go to their Citizens Advice. 

Nationally...

The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.

The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see  Advice trends.

Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.

What customers say

“I was very low when I came to the CAB, with debts and problems everywhere. I am now a lot happier, as I pay one sum of money each month and get left alone by creditors”.