400 jobless flock to advice centre in a day
10:00am Sunday 29th April 2012 in Your Town
A VOLUNTEER organisation which helps the unemployed with advice and support has been inundated with inquiries since Bolton Citizens Advice Bureau stopped taking on new cases last week.
The Unemployed Advice Centre in Deansgate said more than 400 people came through its doors in one day this week, for everything from benefits advice to free food handouts.
Unemployed people are directed to the service by the JobCentre, among others.
Volunteer manager Denise Lonsdale said: “We have been busy for the past eight months, but it has become even more busy since CAB stopped taking people in.
“A lot of the cases we deal with are to do with people being assessed on whether they are fit for work.
“We had a man last week who is on kidney dialysis four times a week and he’s been told he can work — he couldn’t even stand up.
“We have now sorted a letter from Hope Hospital, but he will be without money for five weeks.”
Last week, Bolton Citizens Advice Bureau became so busy that the management board banned staff fromtaking on new work so they could deal with a backlog of 1,500 active cases.
Service chiefs warned that the situation could get worse if funding cuts force them to axe 30 of its 50 staff.
More than 1,000 people asked for help from Bolton CAB in January.
Barry Lyon, who has been chairman of the service for 20 years, said: “We don’t even advertise our drop-in sessions — people hear about them through word of mouth.
“We suspended the sessions for two or three weeks reluctantly, but this is a frightening glimpse into what could be the norm in a year.”
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