CHEADLE is in danger of losing a vital support service after funding was cut by a number of sources, community leaders fear.
Citizens Advice, based in Cheadle High Street, has been serving residents battling issues such as deb, housing and employment problems for 46 years.
But the charity is facing funding issues of its own and Cheadle Town Council members fear it will not survive to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Citizens Advice trustee and Conservative councillor Peter Jackson told fellow members the charity had seen an increase of 100 service users in three months alone, compared to the previous three-month period.
He said: “A lot of people go there for debt but there are other issues. Last month there were people attending for issues such as domestic abuse, financial abuse and torture.
“You think they would be criminal matters and they would go to the police station, but not everyone wants to get into a criminal matter. People go there to get pointed in the right direction and the staff at the CAB are superb in doing just that.
“They have quite a lot of volunteer staff who put in a hell of a lot of time, including updating training. If you think that in the last quarter there were over 100 more people attending Citizens Advice you can see they’re not diminishing.
“Despite this, due to reduced funding from a number of sources, current budget projections show that Cheadle Citizens Advice will have to close its doors in two years’ time. It has served the people of Cheadle for 46 years but it doesn’t look like it will get near to its 50th.
“I consider that to be a devastating blow to this town. My reason for bringing this report to the committee is to bring awareness, both to this council and to the people of this town, of the dire situation Cheadle Citizens Advice is currently facing and the imminent loss of an extremely vulnerable and valuable service.”
Cheadle Citizens Advice is supported by the town council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, but Staffordshire County Council cut Citizens Advice funding worth £510,000 across the county earlier this year.
But independent councillor Ray Wood hit out at the Conservative-controlled county council’s decision to cut funding.
Moorlands Democratic Alliance Councillor Ron Locker said: “I have been a chairman and member of Citizens Advice for over 25 years and it’s never been any different – this is an organisation that has always struggled for funding. But it has never been as tight as it is now – it really is a struggle.
“If this country allows things likes Citizens Advice to go down the pan we are really coming to the end of our tether. It’s sacrilege, thinking this country is going towards this route.
“I believe we have got to do more than we are doing to keep try to keep Citizens Advice going. This is so important – this is the last straw for some people when they have got into difficulties.”