Epping Forest Citizens Advice Bureau in financial struggle (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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The Epping Forest Citizens Advice Bureau has a "substantial" defecit whilst plans for a larger Epping office may be failing
The Epping Forest Citizens Advice Bureau is experiencing serious financial problems, according to a council report.
At present the service is undergoing a period of reconstruction as the Epping office is closed for refurbishment.
It was hoped that when it opened it would be the hub for all Epping Forest bureaux, with outreach centres in Loughton and Waltham Abbey.
However, it has now emerged that the grand plans must be scaled down.
In a report which will be delievered to a Loughton Town Council meeting Mayor Jill Angold-Stevens has said that there will also be job loss.
She said: “The immediate issue is the staff restructuring following the reisgnation of the District Manager.
“Due to increasing rents and financial constraints, it has been decied that staffing will change, reducing the number of ASMs to two, probably losing one at Waltham Abbey.
“On the financial side the budget for 2014/15 is currently showing a substantial defecit. This, is it continues, will need to be funded from reserves.”
The report goes on to reveal that the CAB may only be able to afford to use one floor of the Hemnall Street office when it re-opens.
To make matter worse, work has halted on the building due to a “issue with a tree” and there is a disagreement over which floor the CAB will take.
Owners, Theydon Trust, wish to house the service in the first floor, whilst the CAB wishes to use the ground floor because of footfall.
Councillor Angold Stevens said that arraning a meeting between the two is “proving impossible”.
Depsite the doom and gloom of the report the Mayor praised all volunteers at the CAB who are still attending training sessions in Harlow and dealing with more people in Waltham Abbey and Loughton, adding that things in Loughton were looking slightly better.
The CAB may be able to use a new building at St Mary’s Church for three days each week, soon.
She said: “Amid so much difficulty it is to their credit that morale seems to be high with a determination to provide the best service to the community that is possible.”