A TEAM of Ayr residents are campaigning for South Ayrshire’s first Citizens Advice Bureau to prevent people from “falling through the net”.

The dedicated steering group have spent the last 12 months analysing the current council led support on offer to those who need help with a range of issues.

Now they believe the time is right to offer a more impartial independent service by setting up CAB. Fronted by Charles Douglas, a former GP the group consists of three other members Andrew Russell, Denis McLellan and Eileen Alexander.

Having previously worked in disability benefit assessments and with people struggling with substance misuse Charles understands the challenges that face people who need advice.

He told the Ayr Advertiser: “People who are going through issues with benefits are already in a state of anxiety, they often go to meetings without any support or they don’t know what support is out there.

“There are so many poor people who are not getting benefits who need help.

“If you have a trained volunteer, they can help and be flexible, they are also doing it because they want to, not because they have to.”

The group are keen to set up an army of volunteers across South Ayrshire who can be there to advise on issues from financial to employment.

South Ayrshire Council currently provide a support service.

But Charles believes it is failing to tick all the boxes and cannot always take an unbiased stance.

He added: “How can someone who is going through an issue with council tax or housing go to the council and receive impartial advice?”

Both Eileen and Denis both came into difficulty in dealing with the council support services in the past, whilst Andrew has supported the move as a community councillor for Alloway and Doonfoot.

The group have been frustrated as South Ayrshire Council have refused discussions around introducing a CAB.

Charles said: “We have been trying to engage with the council.

“We contacted the leader of the council but received no response.

“They (South Ayrshire Council) are critical of this because they provide funding and give their own form of advice services.

“But they are trying to re-invent the wheel which is what they are doing.”

“There are 32 councils in Scotland, 29 of them have a CAB, but they just don’t seem to think it will work here.”

“CAB would be a more complete, more impartial way.

“They have a track record of delivering a great service on a consistent basis.”

A spokesperson for South Ayrshire Council said: “We’re committed to supporting our communities and our people particularly those in need.

“Through our Information and Advice Hub we provide services which deal with income maximisation, debt and money advice and consumer information.

“We have met with Citizens Advice Scotland to highlight the services we already provide.”