Swindon Archive News

Over £137,000 funding for Safer Swindon Shop and Consumer Advice Service

Julia Drown MP, centre, with from left, Geoff Mountjoy, Regional Director for Legal Services Commission, Ellen Wilkins, Swindon and Wiltshire Legal Services Commission., Jean Goncalves, Project Manager for the Safer Swindon Shop, Karen Wilkinson, Swindon and Wiltshire Legal Services Commission

The Safer Swindon Shop and Consumer Advice Service will receive £137,615 of funding over the next three years from the Legal Services Commission 'Partnership Initiative Budget' (PIB). This follows a successful joint bid from the Public Protection Group and Crime and Disorder Team.

The Legal Services Commission is an executive non-departmental public body created under the Access to Justice Act 1999 to replace the Legal Aid Board. One of the Commission's schemes is the Community Legal Service, which aims to bring together networks of funders and suppliers into partnerships to provide the widest possible access to information and advice.

Under this scheme Community Legal Service Partnerships (CLSPs) have been established to bring together organisations offering legal and advice services. Borough Solicitor, Stephen Taylor is Chair of Swindon Community Legal Service Partnership. He said:

"I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the successful bid. The submission fulfilled key objectives such as creating a greater awareness of where to seek advice and support on personal, legal and social issues amongst vulnerable people and hard to reach groups."

The 'Partnership Initiative Budget' enables the development of projects that have a direct impact on individuals' access to advice and information in local priority need areas.

Public Protection Group Leader, Robert Taylour was involved in putting forward the proposal for funding and said:

"This funding will help us to continue providing an invaluable service to the people of Swindon."

The Consumer Advice Service pilot was launched in January 2002 from the Safer Swindon Shop in Havelock Street. Open Monday to Friday between 10.00 and 15.30, the Consumer Advice Service provides free impartial advice to the public and local traders who may be in dispute over contracts for the supply of goods or services.

The funding will be used to sustain the present service and expand it to include, amongst other things, targeted consumer education for young people and the provision of outreach sessions and open access surgeries on consumer advice and community safety.

Swindon Borough Councillor Brian Ford is Member with responsibility for Community Safety. He said: "To be awarded this amount of funding indicates how successful the Safer Swindon Shop is. I would like to thank those who have awarded the money and the staff who have worked so hard to achieve it. I urge the citizens of Swindon to use this service and help us to help you.

Swindon Borough Councillor Barrie Thompson has been involved with the Safer Swindon Shop since its inception and is delighted with the news:

"I know how hard the officers at the Safer Swindon Shop and the Public Protection Group have worked to attract this three year funding. It is a unique project that many towns and cities would like to have because it brings together all public protection services in one place and in a non threatening environment staffed by highly professional people."

Jean Goncalves is the Manager of the Safer Swindon Shop and she recently attended a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons. The aim of the reception was to inform MP's about the work of the Community Legal Service in the South West. MP's, including Julia Drown, listened to suggestions about how they can help their constituents to find good quality legal advice or answer queries about Legal Aid.

Jean Goncalves said:

"The reception provided the opportunity for service providers to meet MP's and explain our work and discuss local issues about the provision of advice."

The Safer Swindon Shop can be reached on 01793 525114.

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