New funding for vital support service

PUBLISHED: 16:24 27 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

A THRIVING service to help families suffering illness through poverty is set to carry on thanks to fresh funding from a supporter.

A THRIVING service to help families suffering illness through poverty is set to carry on thanks to fresh funding from a supporter.

But organisers of the scheme fear for the long-term future of the project because of the cost of running it – though they are now preparing a bid for National Lottery funding.

The scheme in Felixstowe, where there are growing problems with debt was set up initially as an experiment with grant aid from the European Social Fund.

Organised by the town's Citizens' Advice Bureau the pilot project to put advisers and counsellors into doctors' surgeries was hailed a great success.

When the Euro cash ran out, organisers were forced to close the scheme for a while, and then Lloyds TSB gave a £5,000 grant to allow it to re-start.

The bank has now agreed to give more funding to keep it going while the lottery bid is prepared.

Felixstowe CAB manager Ann Colvill said: "We are so pleased and very grateful to Lloyds TSB for their continued help so that we can keep this going at least into the New Year.

"We are applying to the lottery for a package of funding for three years, which would give the service real security.

"We have had enormous interest and lots of people have been using it, but like many schemes, the use will grow as more and more people realise it exists and it becomes established."

CAB volunteers in Felixstowe have found families torn apart by spiralling money worries. Total debt problems in the town stood at more than £1.7 million, but have fallen in the past few months to £1.3m. A community profile of Felixstowe three years ago showed 30 per cent of people consulted were below the official poverty line, which surprised many who regard the resort as affluent.

Money worries can lead to stress and illness. Advisers believe there is a link between poverty and debt problems and illness, and other problems and 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.

The advisers are at Walton Surgery, Walton High Street, and Haven surgery at Safeway on Tuesdays. No appointment is necessary and people do not have to be patients of the surgeries.

Further information from the CAB, Orwell Road, Felixstowe, on 01394 275958.

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