New Citizens Advice Bureau opens

12:10pm Saturday 7th December 2013

By Natalie O'Neill

The Citizens Advice Bureau has opened a new centre in Hendon following a “remarkable” year for the organisation in Barnet.

Following reports that Barnet Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has helped more new clients than any other branch in London, the group celebrated its success at the launch of its new offices in Church End.

The Mayor, Councillor Melvin Cohen, formally opened the building where CAB will be able to provide more welfare benefits and debt advice as well as face-to-face meetings for those in greatest need.

Guests marked the opening by sharing a special lunch together before cutting a cake.

One woman who has much to thank the service for is mother Jane Nalika, 45, from East Finchley.

Ms Nalika works part-time but due to problems with her benefits and health problems, she got into arrears with her rent and council tax.

She said: “I was having a really bad time and struggling to cope. Sandra my case worker has been a true friend. She stopped me from being evicted from my housing association property, and also negotiated a manageable repayment schedule for my rent and council tax arrears, which I am able to keep to.

"I don’t know what would have happened to me without her help and support.”

Chief executive Tim Clark said: “The challenges we face are as demanding as ever they were, with welfare reform, debt and energy prices the causes of greatest and immediate concern to our clients. Because of this there are immense pressures of quality and quantity on our service.

“We have to offer excellent and consistent advice to more and more local people at a time when operational budgets are tight, and constantly being squeezed ever tighter.”

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