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NEW HELP CENTRE TO OPEN IN NEWPORT

A new centre combining information, advice and guidance services will open in Newport later this year.

Help services provided by Citizens Advice and Age UK (Isle of Wight) will move across the road from the current Isle Help centre in Newport into County Hall.

They will combine with the council-run help centre to create a single hub, making people’s engagement with advice services simpler, easier and more streamlined.

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The Isle of Wight Council has pledged £214,000 to the project.

Councillor Stuart Hutchinson, Cabinet member for resources has said:

“By welcoming our partner agencies into the new Isle Help in County Hall, Islanders will be able to meet with a range of experts under one roof.

“It will make the whole process simpler and provide a better experience in accessing the appropriate advice from the right agency, in what can sometimes be challenging individual circumstances.

“We’ve asked existing service users what they would like to see and they were overwhelmingly keen that the centre is informative, accessible and welcoming.

“They would like to access information on a range of topics, including housing, benefits, debt and welfare, and this new centre can provide that.

“This will not only provide a better service but will result in ongoing savings for the council and its partners.”

Work to renovate the ground floor of County Hall, to create a flexible, confidential and fresh environment, is due to start this month.

Paul Savill, chief executive of Citizens Advice Isle of Wight, and Jo Dare, chief executive of Age UK Isle – both Isle Help directors – said:

“Our charities are excited about being part of the new Isle Help centre.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to provide bright, comfortable and accessible facilities in one place, enabling us to offer the best service possible.

“Each organisation will still be able to provide an impartial, confidential service, but the centre will be a much better place to visit and a much nicer environment for our volunteers and staff.

“Collaborating more closely with the Isle of Wight Council will ensure we improve our collective offer so people will only have to give their information once, enabling us to help more people, more quickly.”

The current County Hall help centre is expected to be closed to the public for around 3 weeks, while work is carried out to the ground floor of the building.

Alternative arrangements will be in place during this time for visitors to seek advice from the current Isle Help office. More details will be provided once works are underway.

The new facility is due to open in November 2018.

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