We don’t know the reason for the U-turn on the plan to close Clitheroe Jobcentre, but it has now definitely happened, with the news that ALL services will be delivered in the Ribble Valley at the current office.
The up-and-coming benefit, Universal Credit, will be included and IT upgrades will be made.
In early September, things looked bleak for the local service. Closure was announced. A month’s consultation started and so began the swell of opposition from all corners of Ribble Valley, until, I believe the Department of Work and Pensions could not fail to respond.
A remarkable range of voices made themselves heard, all shouting the same message – we don’t want local people to experience hardship, this would not be fair, keep our local service.
Councillors from the borough, Clitheroe Town and many Parish Councils held meetings and sent emails with their concerned responses to the consultation; naturally the Salvation Army strode to the forefront of the campaign and were joined and supported by Clitheroe Churches and the Food Bank people.
I was heartened to see emails from a Ribblesdale Nursery manager, a UCLAN lecturer and Bill Honeywell of Rotary, too. In the background, Ribble Valley Homes and Ribble Valley Borough Council were working away to pull in the same direction.
MP Nigel Evans rolled his sleeves up and, not least, this paper gave the issue prominence time and time again.
Twelve weeks after the closure was announced, we heard about the 100% change of plan. We are to keep these government services here and this result is a tribute to the Ribble Valley community.
Well done everyone. It’s great to live and work in a place where people care.
Manager, Ribble Valley Citizens’ Advice Bureau