Kilburn CAB to close

19 May

Kilburn CABI was really disappointed to learn recently that the Kilburn Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is to close its doors in the summer.

The CAB is in a prime position in the middle of the Kilburn High Road, at the junction with Kingsgate Place.  It has provided face-to-advice advice services on debt, housing, welfare benefits, immigration and other matters to local residents for over 40 years.

Kilburn is one of the most deprived wards in the borough of Camden with relatively high levels of unemployment and lower income groups.  It is a similar story for the Kilburn ward on the Brent side of the High Road.  There are several council estates close to the Kilburn CAB, and I know from my period as a former local councillor in the area, that many tenants do make use of it from time to time.

There are also lots of private tenants on or close to the High Road, many of whom are vulnerable, perhaps because English isn’t their first language, they are new to the UK, and in some cases, they have unscrupulous landlords. These groups don’t always know what services are available so the loss of a visible source of support could mean they don’t access the advice they need.

Meanwhile, as community groups in Kilburn have highlighted in recent months, there has been a worrying proliferation of payday loan shops on the High Road during the economic downturn.  The easy availability of credit with high repayment rates is adding to the need for money advice services just as they becomes less accessible.  There is a local campaign for a ‘Healthy Finance Hub’ on the High Road, but for now it looks as if will be harder to get face-to-face support about personal finances.

We all know that many voluntary organisations and local authorities have to find savings because of the country’s huge financial deficit, and it seems that a reduction in Camden Council funding has triggered this decision.  Apparently, Camden CAB is expanding its phone and online services, and will provide regular face-to-face advice sessions at West Hampstead Women’s Centre on Cotleigh Road and at the Brondesbury Medical Centre on the High Road, which is some consolation.

However, I was surprised to see that Camden Council is providing a new CAB premises in the old Regents Park library at the same time that the Kilburn service is being shut down.  When the Kilburn CAB closes its doors there will be no dedicated office in the whole of the Hampstead & Kilburn constituency.  Sometimes it seems as if the Council gives lower priority to the needs of residents in the north-west of the borough, despite it being an area of great need.


4 Responses to “Kilburn CAB to close”

  1. West Hampstead (@WHampstead) May 20, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    I believe that some form of CAB will be offered at the new “Sherriff Centre” aka St James’ Church in West Hampstead as part of the package of services offered alongside the new post office (which Camden is helping to fund through section 106 community investment money)

    • jamesrobking May 20, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      Thanks for that update. I wasn’t aware of that, and it sounds positive, although still not as visible as a Kilburn High Road site.

  2. Andrew Cain May 29, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    The West Hamp Women’s Centre only sees women, appropriately enough, and just three or four people a week. The closure of the CAB is very serious for our area and will severely impact our community.

  3. I September 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    I can’t believe Camden Council are providing a new CAB at the old Regents Park library while at the same time shutting the Kilburn service down – talk about insult to injury. How on earth can they justify this? Have to trek all the way to Euston to get some help – 2 buses just to get there – it’s hardly accessible is it and cost effective for the public?! In short there is no point having a local help service if its not local.

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