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Farron welcomes reprieve for local cancer benefit centre

May 19, 2009 12:00 AM

The future of the Macmillan cancer benefits advice centre in Kendal has been safeguarded after South Lakes MP Tim Farron and others intervened to secure funding for the specialist welfare service.

The Citizens Advice Bureau in South Cumbria have been working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to operate a specialist welfare benefit service for the past three years. Since the service began in July 2006 the specialists have assisted over 150 clients and obtained a total of over £2million in benefits for them.

The centre is currently jointly funded by the Citizens Advice Bureau and Cumbria PCT; however its future was placed in doubt after the PCT decided to withdraw their funding at the last minute.

Following pressure, Cumbria PCT has agreed, as of next year, to continue funding the centre with Macmillan Cancer Support covering the cost of keeping the centre open in the short term.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Having written to the Chief Executive of Cumbria PCT to ask them to reconsider their decision to pull the plug on funding for the benefits centre, I'm delighted to say that we have been able to reach an agreement with MacMillan and the PCT to ensure that we continue this wonderful service.

"This is a truly fantastic project that aims to improve the uptake of welfare benefits for people affected by cancer by ensuring that they have access to specialist and independent advice.

"I'm delighted that MacMillan has also agreed to cover the immediate shortfall in funding so that the project can continue to make a positive contribution to the lives of individuals and families by providing them with access to specialist advice about how to maximise their income.