A NEW base for Citizens Advice has been launched in Prudhoe after the service was previously cut in the town.

Citizens Advice Northumberland announced that weekly drop-in sessions at Prudhoe and Haltwhistle would be scrapped from September last year, due to a reduction in funding.

The move was met with opposition in both towns, but earlier this year the charity’s newly-appointed chief executive, Abi Conway, announced the charity’s focus would be on having a stronger community presence across Northumberland.

The new service is running from Prudhoe’s Manors Extra Care Centre on Adderlane Road for two days per week – currently providing appointment bookings but with a plan to relaunch the drop-in service in the near future.

Ms Conway said: “We did look at various locations across the town but a lot of the premises were really busy – there’s a lot going on in a lot of the community buildings and church halls.

“We went to the Manors and they are really trying to turn it into a community building so it is accessible not just to residents but to everybody around there, so it was a really good move for us.”

Citizens Advice had previously operated from the Spetchells Centre in the town and when it was axed, a room remained available for staff to use when appointments were booked by people in Prudhoe.

However, people were also requested to travel to Hexham where possible or were entitled to telephone advice. Now on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Prudhoe has a staffed, permanent base in a room at the Manors, where local people can get advice on anything they may need help with.

Prudhoe Town Council has also committed £6,000 of grant aid funding from it’s 2018/19 budget to the service, which Ms Conway said been a support to the charity.

Ms Conway added: “We are looking to open the drop-in service again.

“We are just getting settled in and getting used to our environment to make sure that when we go live with the drop-ins, staff are really comfortable and happy and can provide the best service.

“That is something we are definitely working towards.”

County Councillor for Prudhoe South, Coun. Gordon Stewart made a visit to the centre recently to see how the support was now being provided.

He said: “I was encouraged by my discussions with CAB that they would be able to return to Prudhoe, and delighted that they now have a base in the town.

“It must be stressed that appointments need to be made at this time.”