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Margaret Burgess launches new CAB Criminal Justice project in Stirling and Clackmannanshire

7 May 2014

The Big Lottery (Support and Connect fund) has shone a light for vulnerable people engaged in the Criminal Justice system in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire area, by awarding Stirling CAB £126,884 to support and connect the activities of a joint initiative between CAB and the Criminal Justice Departments in both Stirling Council and Clackmannanshire Council.

Margaret Burgess MSP and Minister for Housing and Welfare will officially  launch the CAB/Criminal Justice Alliance Project for the Criminal Justice Service of Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council on (Wednesday 7th May 10a.m. – 10.45 am).

Stirling and Clackmannanshire CAB are well trusted and well utilised community organisations and are the advice brand that people experiencing difficulty in Stirling and Clackmannanshire engage within their thousands each year. In 2012/2013 Stirling CAB resolved 13,368 issues, generated £1.43 million in unclaimed benefits and resolved £2.3 million worth of consumer debt. The investment from Big Lottery will help provide advice and assistance to many vulnerable people and families.

Craig Anderson, Stirling CAB Manager, explained that this additional funding will allow an expansion of the CAB advice service to Criminal Justice centres throughout the Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council area. He said:

“We are delighted that Stirling CAB has secured this funding to help minimize the impact of Welfare reforms on vulnerable people engaged in the Criminal Justice system and we are excited at the collaboration with our statutory partners in this project. The true value of partnership working is that our mutual clients will benefit.   CAB and Criminal Justice can now look forward to the challenges of the New Year, when we will quickly expand our staff team, our operations and provide a much needed resource to both our statutory partners in the frontline and as importantly our mutual clients."

Duncan Dennett, Clackmannanshire CAB Manager said:

"We are very happy to cooperate in this exciting venture. The Stirling CAB role will be to administer funding from the Big Lottery Fund and both Stirling and Clackmannanshire bureaux will provide the workers (both paid and unpaid) to provide advice, information and casework support up to and including tribunal and civil court to assist  Criminal Justice staff and their clients."

Chairperson, Gerry Power, said:

“Stirling CAB has worked with the council for many, many years and we have been incredibly impressed at the level of commitment and support that we continue to receive from our local authority, as well as the outstanding high quality contribution that volunteers bring to our advice work. As a community representative organisation ourselves we appreciate the benefit of local people working for their communities. The Welfare Reforms and the on-going economic downturn are having a significant negative impact on vulnerable people within Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council areas and this funding and innovative collaboration will assist the protection of vulnerable people, families and communities.”

Stuart Landels, Service Manager for Criminal Justice at Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils welcomes the funding. He commented:

“We know from the work being carried out on the ground that there is a real need to provide support, help and advice to our local communities in Clackmannanshire and Stirling. This innovative project will help the Criminal Justice Service and CAB work closely together to provide that real assistance to the most vulnerable, while also helping to reduce re-offending in our local communities."

Clackmannanshire Convener Clr Les Sharp welcomes the funding. He commented:

“We know from the work being carried out on the ground that there is a real need to provide support, help and advice to our local communities. This innovative project will help the Criminal Justice Service and CAB work closely together to provide that real assistance to the most vulnerable, while also helping to reduce re-offending in our local communities."

Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said:

“Westminster’s Welfare Reforms are hitting our most vulnerable households the hardest, and this often includes those involved in the criminal justice system. However, thanks to Big Lottery funding, this exciting new project will provide vital advice on benefits and money to those in the criminal justice system in Stirling and Clackmannanshire, helping to minimize the financial problems caused by Welfare Reform so they do not contribute to offending and re-offending.”

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