Citizens’ Advice launches outreach service locally

WHITEHEAD and Greenisland residents with questions on debt, benefits, employment and other issues can now seek help on their doorstep.

The two towns, along with the Oakfield area of Carrickfergus, now boast their own outreach service offered by the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

In addition to weekly drop-ins at Whitehead Community Centre, Greenisland Baptist Church and the Church of the Nazarene, home visits can be be requested by clients who are unable to get out of the house.

Outreach worker Gillian Gordon, who returns to Carrick CAB after a previous stint as a volunteer advisor, explained: “It is a drop-in service, going out into the community to help people who cannot come into Carrick access our services – we deal with all the areas that we deal with in bureau.

“We have helped people with form filling, benefit checks, moving between Housing Executive houses, other housing issues and employment issues. If need be, I can get more information and come back to them.”

Each outreach centre has a private room where clients can talk in confidence with their advisor. Bureau manager Mary McCreight believes the service will also appeal to individuals who want to receive advice discreetly.

“It is totally confidential and very discreet, because you could be going to the community centre or church for anything, so we do get people coming who do not want to be seen coming to the bureau,” she said.

The outreach worker post is funded by the Northern Health and Social Services Board for a period of six months.

The service is available from 12.30 to 1.30pm on Wednesdays at Greenisland Baptist Church (Glassillan Grove), 12.30 to 1.30pm on Thursdays at Whitehead Community Centre (Balmoral Avenue) and 10.00 to 11.00am on Fridays at the Church of the Nazarene (Oakfield Drive, Carrickfergus).

To request a home visit, telephone 9335 1808. Carrickfergus Citizens’ Advice Bureau is open from 10.00am to 2.00pm, Monday to Thursday, and for telephone queries only from 10.00am to 12.00 noon on Fridays.