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Skype Outreach Launched

Bolton Citizens Advice Bureau, in partnership with Bolton Council, are set to launch an innovative new venture aimed at increasing customer access to their services throughout the borough. This exciting development is part of the Modernising Advice Services Project (MAPP), funded by the Big Lottery.

Through ‘video link’ conferencing, customers will be able to speak directly to CAB staff for advice and information without the need to travel into the town centre. Customers will be able to visit local access points within their community, including Libraries & UCAN centres, to use the facility which will provide easy and efficient access to CAB services.  In the longer term, this offers the potential for clients to access services from their own homes in this way.

The scheme will also provide support and training to staff and volunteers within the Libraries and UCAN centres, this will ensure that visiting customers receive all the most up to date information and guidance for both Council and CAB services in the first instance but in the future, we will be looking for other organisations to join in and offer ‘video link’ services.

Halliwell UCAN centre will be the pilot location before the service is rolled-out to up to 14 other locations across the borough.

This is just part of the creative ways Bolton CAB are working and delivering vital advice in the wake of government cuts to advice funding.  Linking up advice organisations such as Bolton CAB and Bolton Council alongside others, e.g. social landlords and the voluntary and community sector will deliver a holistic approach to supporting those who need it most.

“Halliwell UCAN is the ideal launch pad for this service as it is extremely well-used and, if successful, it will become a feature at other community venues in the borough.”
Cllr Cliff Morris - Leader of Bolton Council

New technology such as the video-link conferencing will run alongside a re-designed website that offers many different access channels to Bolton CAB services and will also have self-help material available.  The project is also raising awareness and inviting advice organisations to register details with the Local Services Directory.

Richard Wilkinson – Chief Officer at Bolton Citizens Advice Bureau says:

“The people of Bolton are struggling with the impact of welfare reforms, such as the bedroom tax.  Bolton CAB are also managing reductions in funding.  We are responding to these challenges through innovative ways of delivering services whilst still providing the quality advice we are known for.  This project, and working closely with the council is enabling us to do this."

"Internally, we are moving to a more streamlined system, enabling us to offer such a innovative, and different way for clients to get advice – eventually without the need to leave their homes.”

The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said:

“We have all had to look at more efficient ways of working and the CAB is no exception. We have assisted the organisation in identifying suitable locations for the new service and utilising UCANs and libraries makes perfect sense as it enables people to access vital resources right in the heart of the community.

“Halliwell UCAN is the ideal launch pad for this service as it is extremely well-used and, if successful, it will become a feature at other community venues in the borough.”

Bolton CAB continue to offer a face to face service through their drop in sessions; the Social Welfare Drop In at Bolton CAB offices on Mawdsley Street, open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9.30am to 3.30pm, as well as through many outreach sessions around the borough.  There is also a CAB self-help website adviceguide.org.uk and a national helpline — 08444 111444.  Those registered with a Bolton GP can access phone support through freephone 0808 801 0011, which is free, (even from most mobiles).

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