FAMILIES in financial trouble in part of York will be able to seek help from a new service that has been set up in the heart of the community.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and City of York Council’s housing services have opened a new, free advice service based at Westfield’s Children’s Centre in Acomb.

Anyone worried about making ends meet can tap into free support and advice at the CAB’s Westfields Family Money Advice project, such as:

• Dealing with debt and budgeting advice

• Benefit entitlements – a check-up to make sure you’re not missing out

• Getting back into work - help finding useful services

Peter Finlay, from the CAB, said: “With the changes to the benefit system beginning in April 2013, times will be getting even tougher for some families, so it’s more important than ever that people understand their options and start to prepare for what’s ahead.

“We have years of experience in successfully helping families with their money problems. When you come to us you know you are in safe hands with trained advisers who will give you free, impartial and independent advice – we always have your best interest at heart.”

Tracey Ralph, head teacher at Westfield School, fully supports the service, which is based at the children’s centre in the school grounds.

She said: “We’re delighted to host this service and make it easier for families in the area to access helpful support and advice.

“The service is run independently from the school, and is completely confidential.

It’s convenient for parents in Acomb, but it’s also open to the wider community, so even if you don’t have a family, or children attending Westfield Primary, you’re very welcome to come along.”

Westfield pupil Phoebe Konadu, nine, won a competition to design a logo to appear on banners outside the school. Phoebe’s colourful picture featuring her family won the judges’ vote and she was presented with her prizes, along with her five-year-old sister, Olivia, by City of York Council housing officer Jo Whitehouse.

To book an appointment at the CAB, phone 01904 683908.

Useful contacts

• Shelter’s free housing advice helpline: 0808 800 4444

• Salvation Army early intervention and prevention team: 01904 630470

• For housing options at City of York Council: 01904 554500