Citizen’s Advice Bureau moves back into Cookstown

Jolene McGuigan, Advice for Health worker, carries out an interview at the new Mid Ulster Citizens Advice offices on William Street

Jolene McGuigan, Advice for Health worker, carries out an interview at the new Mid Ulster Citizens Advice offices on William Street

0
Have your say

After six years in Derryloran, Mid Ulster Citizens Advice Bureau [CAB] has now moved into Cookstown, setting up shop on William Street.

The team, which provides help and advice on a range of issues including debt, immigration and help filling out benefit forms, is now offering a drop-service three days a week.

It’s frustrating because you know that these people have worked so hard for all those years - Jolene McGuigan

When the Mid Ulster Mail visited them at their newly refurbished premises, the first thing that struck us was just how passionate the team were about their role in the community - helping those in need.

And according to Advice for Health Worker Jolene McGuigan more-and-more people are coming in for help.

“There has been a major increase in the amount of people using CAB and that’s not just with the move,” she explained.

“In the last two years our stats have increased - in January of this year I have dealt with 261 stats [issues] and in January of last year I dealt with 151.”

But those figures were just for just Jolene, who works alongside a further three part-time advisors, CAB volunteers and the centre manager.

When asked what takes up the most of her time she said: “Debt - Debt is a big big issue.

“People have lost their jobs - people who have worked for 20 years that have accessed the benefit system and after 52 weeks have lost their benefits.

“It’s frustrating because you know that these people have worked so hard for all those years. That’s the hardest part of the job - when you come against a brick wall with all the new legislations that have come in.”

Mid Ulster CAB now offer drop-in appointments on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

On Monday they help DLA applicants with forms and on Tuesday offer their services to a range of other agencies like Sure Start, Women’s Aid, 040, St Vincent de Paul, GPs and Social Services.