Caister: villagers fight to save CLIP

VULNERABLE villagers fear they could be left isolated if Caister Community Liaison Information Point (CLIP) is forced to close because of a lack of funding.

VULNERABLE villagers fear they could be left isolated if Caister Community Liaison Information Point (CLIP) is forced to close because of a lack of funding.

Residents have called for the service, based at Caister Library, to be saved after it emerged social inclusion organisation Community Connections, which runs the CLIP, needed to find �20,000 to meet its annual running costs.

But Caister Parish Council refused to give money towards the project at a meeting in December because councillors felt it was not sufficiently valuable to warrant funding.

However, Community Connections representatives Debbie Giles and Mark Llewellyn on Monday presented the council with letters from villagers supporting the continued use of the service in the hope members would change their minds.

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A final decision is expected later this year.

One of the supporters of CLIP, Malcolm Henderson, of Bultitudes Loke, told the Mercury that the staff - part-time Debbie Giles and three unpaid volunteers - had provided him with information on Anglian Bus services to Norwich and coffee mornings in the area.

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He helps run a coffee morning at Holy Trinity Church in Caister and passes on information about church events to the CLIP staff to be publicised.

Mr Henderson said: “It is a very good service, especially for people who have just moved into the area or are visiting on holiday. It is situated in the library so it is easy for residents to see the staff.”

He added the only other place where people could go for information in Caister was the parish council office, but staff were not always on duty there during the day, unlike at the CLIP.

Another villager, who did not wish to be named, spoke of her sadness at the CLIP's plight and said Miss Giles had helped her by providing the phone numbers of people she could call about dog fouling.

She added: “I do hope this service keeps going and more people will be informed of this service. I must say I find Debbie Giles a very kind and caring person. I do hope to see Debbie in the library when I call. We must try and keep this service going.”

But if funding can not be found, then at the very least the four staff will be lost and the CLIP may even have to close altogether.

The CLIP was initially based at the police station when it started in 2006 and received funding from energy firm E.ON UK and a grant from the police.

But when it moved to the library the funding dried up and the CLIP does not qualify for the government support provided to other CLIPs in the borough because it not considered a deprived area. Money therefore has to be sought from other sources.

The service has bee running in the borough since 2002.

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