Two Dorset Citizens Advice offices have announced plans to merge, resulting in a more streamlined service for Dorset residents.
The Trustee Boards of East Dorset Citizens Advice and Purbeck Citizens Advice have agreed to move forward with a merger which will form a new single bureau called Citizens Advice in East Dorset and Purbeck. The merger is in response to the future challenges anticipated to core funding, a need to generate new external funding and the ability to maintain and deliver high-quality advice services in very uncertain times.
Alan Breakwell, Chairman of East Dorset Citizens Advice, said: “Like all charities, we have faced many challenges over the past few months, with reduced funding and extra demand on our services. We need to look at how we can best address these issues whilst continuing to support and provide advice to Dorset residents”
“Following the formation of the new unitary authorities, it was a logical step forward for us to consider a merger to reflect the changes in local government. We will be in a much stronger position to bid for funding and to pool together our resources and skills ensuring we continue to offer a high quality level of service to residents.”
These changes have been reflected within the citizen advice structure with the previous mergers of the Weymouth office with the Dorchester, Sherborne and North Dorset office to create a new Central Dorset bureau and the merger of the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole bureau into a new single bureau. An independent Bridport office continues to provide advice services within West Dorset area.
Richard Holman, Chairman of Purbeck Citizens Advice, said: “Coming together allows us to pool the financial reserves, it provides greater staff and volunteer resources that can be directed at delivering services and it provides the opportunity to strengthen governance arrangements by combining the skills and experience across the two boards. The trustee boards will be working closely together with the staff and volunteers of both bureaus to ensure a smooth transition to the new organisation.”
Helen Goldsack, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Purbeck will be the new Chief Officer for Citizens Advice in East Dorset and Purbeck. Helen said: “This is a challenging time for Citizens Advice, but we believe that this merger will put us in a much stronger position to apply for future funding which will ensure that Dorset residents have improved and continued access to our services.”
“We recognise the importance of maintaining the identity of both East Dorset and Purbeck and we will continue to have offices in Wimborne, Ferndown, Wareham and Swanage along with our outreach centres. Our priority is to ensure that we continue to be able to offer our core service to residents either via face to face appointments, telephone, web chat or email discussions.”
It is planned that the new organisation will be effective from the 1 April 2021.