CITIZENS Advice Cheshire West is closing its Ellesmere Port office and instead offering services from local community venues.

It says the move has been made because the current Whitby Road base is unsuitable for social distancing.

A large number of clients are now accessing support via telephone and online.

However, for those who prefer to meet face-to-face, Citizens Advice Cheshire West will be offering services through dedicated Community Access Points (CoAPs).

This could mean someone being able to use a telephone at the venue to access its free advice line or a pre-arranged face-to-face appointment with a member of staff or volunteers.

Citizens Advice Cheshire West will be retaining a presence in Wyvern House in Winsford as their head office as well as Bluecoat in Chester.

With agreement from Cheshire West and Chester Council, they will be able to offer a three day per week limited drop-in assessment service from these locations when it is safe to do so.

Chief executive Jason Bishop said: “The Covid pandemic has changed the way clients access Citizens Advice support and we have seen a large increase in telephone and digital.

"As a result we have introduced a free telephone service and email advice to make it easier for clients to contact us.

"As a district with a large rural area, we see the provision of a telephone service as being an essential part of increasing accessibility to advice.

"However, we also recognise the difficulties that some clients have in accessing our service, and the fact that some clients and issues just need to be seen face-to-face."

He added: “Dedicated Community Access Points (CoAPs) will be safe and confidential places where people can use our services in a variety of ways.

"This could be as simple as using a telephone at the venue to call our free advice line, or it could be by having a pre-arranged face-to-face appointment with one of our staff or volunteers.

"CoAPs can enable people to have a video appointment, and they will often be places that our clients already go to for other support (such as foodbanks or community centres, or schools).

"Our ambition is to have an access point in every council ward in Cheshire West and Chester."

Exactly how they deliver their services from the access points depends on a number of things.

Firstly, the Government’s roadmap out of Covid. At present, the advice is that everyone should work from home if they can, and this is not due to change until June 21.

At all times, Citizens Advice Cheshire West will take the safety of their staff, volunteers and clients into account, and carry out appropriate risk assessments before restarting in-person services.

Throughout the pandemic and even once they are able to see clients face-to-face again, they can be contacted via their free advice line number on 0808 2787 806 or by visiting