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Cash boost helps advice service

PUBLISHED: 07:12 27 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 March 2010

A THRIVING service to help families suffering illness through poverty is set to carry on for the next three years - thanks to a £40,000 National Lottery grant.

A THRIVING service to help families suffering illness through poverty is set to carry on for the next three years – thanks to a £40,000 National Lottery grant.

There had been fears for the long-term future of the scheme, organised by the Felixstowe Citizens' Advice Bureau.

It was given Euro cash when it started two years ago as a pilot project and was then kept going thanks to grants from Lloyds TSB.

Now the lottery community fund has agreed to help the CAB for the next three years by giving £39,500.

CAB manager Ann Colvill said the grant was "marvellous news" and would give the service stability and build confidence among the users.

"We are really, really pleased – this will give the scheme continuity and a base to build on," said Mrs Colvill.

"We want people to get used to the fact that it is available and used to using it. This money will enable us to carry on for at least three years without any worries over financing it and to develop the service.

"The bureau has already had some tremendous feedback from people who have used the service and with debt still being a major problem in Felixstowe, we are sure there are many more who will benefit from it."

The scheme puts advisers and counsellors into doctors' surgeries so that patients who feel their illness has been brought on by other worries can seek help easily.

For many the easy access to the service is important, and it removes the difficulty of travelling into town, especially for those who have little money and no transport of their own.

CAB volunteers in Felixstowe have found families torn apart by spiralling money worries. Total debt problems in the town are said to stand at around £1.7 million, leading to stress and illness.

Advisers believe there is a definite link between poverty and debt problems and ill health and other personal problems and people's health.

By having someone available in a GP's surgery to speak to patients who may need advice they hope to help those people tackle the causes of their illnesses.

A community profile of Felixstowe three years ago showed 30 per cent of people consulted were below the official poverty line.

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