Rocky start for free service that supports struggling Norton residents

3:00pm Thursday 5th June 2014

A FREE information service that aims to help struggling Norton residents before they reach crisis point, has got off to a rocky start.

Norton Community Information Point opened its doors three weeks ago, allowing residents to visit St Michael's Church to seek advice about their problems with debt, health and care services, welfare and benefit issues.

But since its official opening, only three people have dropped by the Maynard Avenue church to take advantage of the advice on offer from trained information champions.

Numerous posters advertising the service have also been vandalised.

The service's manager, Peter Dyson said: "I am really sad that my posters have been vandalised. A poster on a stick was thrown over a hedge and damaged a car's paintwork.

"The rest were on bus shelters or lamp posts and some of those have been ripped or defaced."

Despite the rocky start, Mr Dyson has vowed to continue promoting the service and helping the people of Norton, adding: "We will not give up."

He said the service, which is run in partnership with Dudley Council Dudley Citizens Advice Bureau and Healthwatch Dudley was "all about early intervention".

Mr Dyson said the information champions aim to help people before they reach crisis point by providing a sympathetic ear and putting them in touch with the right agencies.

Anyone who needs advice can visit the centre between 9am and 12 noon every Monday.

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