Sheffield area debt advice centre saved at 11th hour

Saved: Volunteers Michael Appleby and Margaret Kingston at Chapel Green advice centre.                                                                                                                                                         Picture: DEAN ATKINS.
Saved: Volunteers Michael Appleby and Margaret Kingston at Chapel Green advice centre. Picture: DEAN ATKINS.
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VOLUNTEERS at an under-threat advice centre are celebrating the news it has been saved from the axe at the eleventh hour.

Chapel Green Advice Centre in Chapeltown, which helps scores of people battling debt, was facing closure after having funding from Sheffield Council scrapped.

But at the last minute an anonymous businessman has stepped in to buy the building - which will pay for the service to stay open for the next three years.

Mick Appleby, who has volunteered for over four years, said: “This means we can stay in the centre, while paying rent, to continue helping people and remain as we are for three years.

“It is absolutely brilliant.

“Right up to the end we thought we were going to close.”

The £24,000-a-year centre’s funding from Sheffield Council ran out on June 29.

Back in March the council said it was ‘reorganising’ how it funds the voluntary sector to create the best, most efficient services - not to save money - and advice services were not being withdrawn in any areas of the city.

The businessman, who bought the advice centre site for £85,000, has links to Chapeltown and wanted to remain anonymous.

About 10 volunteers there help people facing financial difficulties, bankruptcy or home repossession.

Mick added: “There were a few offers but this was the only one that would let us stay here. It is a fantastic feeling.

“We want to help for as long as the people of Chapeltown and the surrounding areas need us hopefully we can be here.”

A council spokesman said: “We have worked with Foxhill and Parson Cross Advice Service to provide a service for the Chapeltown and High Green areas which started on Monday, July 2.

“It will also be linked with the existing services at Parson Cross so that there will be a much more comprehensive advice offer for the people of the north of the city.”

Chapel Green Advice Centre is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 9am and 2pm. Call 0114 245 3262.

The council service runs at Paces, High Green, on Mondays from 9.30 to 11.30am for drop in advice and at the same times on Friday by appointment only.