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CLIP future in doubt after grant refused

PUBLISHED: 16:06 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:28 03 July 2010

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Caister Liaison Information Point, with part-time employee Debbie Giles and unpaid volunteer Pat Spillane.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Caister Liaison Information Point, with part-time employee Debbie Giles and unpaid volunteer Pat Spillane.

Dominic Bareham

THE future of a village information point for vulnerable and isolated people could be in jeopardy after parish councillors refused an application for a grant to keep it running.

THE future of a village information point for vulnerable and isolated people could be in jeopardy after parish councillors refused an application for a grant to keep it running.

Caister Parish Council decided not to give money towards the annual running costs of the village Community Liaison Information Point (CLIP) at the library, at a meeting on Monday.

The decision means social inclusion organisation Community Connections, which runs the facility, will now have to look for alternative sources of funding to meet the costs of over £20,000.

But if this money can not be found, the CLIP looks certain to lose its staff of one paid part-time employee and three unpaid volunteers - and may even have to close altogether.

Caister CLIP worker Debbie Giles warned nobody would be on hand to help elderly or disabled people with their inquiries, which included transport timetables. She had also played a vital role in organising Christmas events for the village.

One of her duties as a CLIP worker was to attend elderly people's coffee mornings to publicise facilities available for them in the area, many of

which are listed in the

Ageless Opportunities directory; as well as promoting a Fuel Poverty bus to highlight concerns over rising fuel prices.

Miss Giles said: “The CLIP has just expanded and I am of the feeling that if I can help, I will. It is working and it would be a shame to lose it.”

Oliver Cruikshank, CLIP development coordinator, said: “Caister people get a one-to-one personalised service that we can offer on a community neighbourhood level and it would be a big loss.”

The CLIP was initially based at the police station when it started in 2006 and received funding from energy company E.ON UK and a grant from the police. But the facility has since moved to the library and needs the extra money to survive.

CLIPs have been running in the borough since 2002 and are, for the most part, paid for by government money to regenerate deprived areas.

However, the Caister CLIP does not qualify for government funding because it is not considered a deprived area and it has to look for money from other sources.

Many of the councillors present at Monday's meeting felt the CLIP was not an essential service and did not justify receiving money from the council's budget.

Councillor Pat Hacon said: “I don't think the CLIP is such a good idea for Caister. I think a lot of the things they do are things we should be doing, such as being an information service for people.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Write to Letters at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email anne.edwards@

archant.co.uk

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