4 May 2018

Council funding halved for citizen's service

1:09 pm on 4 May 2018

Funding cuts are forcing Christchurch's Citizens Advice Bureau to consider scaling back its services.

Christchurch Citizens Advice Bureau chairperson Neil Lancaster.

Christchurch Citizens Advice Bureau chairperson Neil Lancaster. Photo: The Loft

Three years ago the Christchurch City Council funded about 35 percent of its annual budget, however that funding is now half of what it once was. The organisation aimed to help people with a range of issues, including legal problems, employment issues, family disputes and tenancy concerns. The council itself refers people to the service.

Bureau chairperson Neil Lancaster said if funding cuts continued, the organisation would have to scale back its programmes.

"We appreciate the funding restraints that exist for the Christchurch City Council at the moment," he said.

"But I guess our worry is that on one hand they class us a priority one community group, but at the same time they have halved our funding."

No caption

Photo: Citizen's Advice Bureau

The organisation wanted to expand in the city's east, but that might not be possible.

They operated a "face-to-face" service in Eastgate Mall, as part of a group of similar community groups, and could now only afford to be there once a week.

"If our funding had stayed the same, we could be looking at offering a service there three days a week," he said.

There was strong demand for the bureau's service in the city's east, Mr Lancaster said.

"Sometimes we would go along there about half an hour before we start and there could be two or three people waiting."

RNZ News has approached the Christchurch City Council for comment.