Chief whip bids to help the CAB bring in more volunteers

Andrew Gadsden, left, of All About Tea, with Sir George Young
Andrew Gadsden, left, of All About Tea, with Sir George Young

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STAFF at the Portsmouth Citizens Advice Bureau have been showcasing their services in front of the government’s chief whip, who paid a visit to the city.

Sir George Young visited the new offices on Winston Churchill Avenue yesterday.

The Portsmouth CAB is on a recruitment drive to bring in more volunteers to help to expand its services.

Sir George said: ‘I’m very impressed by the CAB here in Portsmouth, specialising in debt advice and money advice.

‘They are very professional and very sympathetic. Also they have a very high quality premises.’

And Sir George has encouraged local people to become a volunteer at the CAB.

‘If there is anyone who is thinking about how they can usefully use some of their spare time, I can think of nothing better than picking up the phone, ringing Portsmouth CAB and saying “can I do some voluntary work for you?”.

‘As a local MP the CAB is crucial in that sometimes they refer people to me and sometimes I refer people to them.

‘So I think all MPs find the relationship with their CAB crucial. All the MPs I know are very supportive of their CABs and very grateful for the work that they do.’

Lynne Davies is the chief executive of the Portsmouth CAB.

She said she was thrilled to welcome Sir George into their offices.

‘It’s always good for us to have visitors of any kind but with senior politicians, although we are not a political organisation ourselves, it’s good for us to be able to inform them about what’s happening locally.

‘We are currently doing a volunteer recruitment drive so we want to recruit some more trainee volunteer advisers.

‘We don’t receive any local authority funding for services so we are trying to do something that’s quite ambitious here in that we are trying to build a generalist advice service that can advise on all of the main subject areas.

‘We are trying to build that from scratch so we need significant volunteer capacity to make that work.’

The visit was arranged by Flick Drummond, the conservative party’s parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South.

They also visited the headquarters of All About Tea, a Southsea-based firm run by Andrew Gadsden.

The Portsmouth CAB was officially opened at its new residence in Winston Churchill Avenue by Princess Anne in October She met staff and volunteers to find out what they do.