Throughout the pandemic, it has been business as usual for the Citizens Information Service (CIS), with the local teams working tirelessly behind closed doors. It was vital that the professional team at the CIS was available, providing a recognised essential service in the local Citizens Information Centres (CIC). Since the pandemic began, CIS in County Wicklow have helped thousands of people via phone, emails and where necessary with face to face meetings by appointment, providing informed, independent, non-judgemental, and confidential information, advice/assistance and advocacy.
Now as society is reopening and almost all restrictions have been lifted, the CIS is delighted to be reopening their doors again to welcome people in need of their services to drop in, without an appointment, from Tuesday 1st February. The County Wicklow CICs are located in Arklow and Bray and will operate a mix of drop-in and appointment services, in line with government guidelines. For anyone wishing to book an appointment or to drop in to one of the CICs, people can call the local Centres’ new phone numbers which are as follows: Arklow – 0818 07 6750 and Bray – 0818 07 6780.
Development Manager for Co. Wicklow CICs, Martina Cronin, said “This is a long awaited time for everyone –and the people living and working in County Wicklow can once again call in to meet a member of the team face to face, something we have all missed so much.”
Martina added “Whoever you are, whatever stage in life, we are here to help. Our services are free and confidentiality is key for us. Your query can relate to anything and if we cannot help we will know where you can get the help and advice you need.”
Helen Howes, Resource Worker, Co Wicklow Public Participation Network (PPN) said “I know I speak on behalf of many of our 377 PPN members from various voluntary and community groups across the county when I say it is great to hear that our local CICs are reopening for drop ins. We have all experienced difficulties in engaging with services via different channels (such as the telephone, email, Zoom) over the past couple of years; being able to meet up with an advisor face to face, without an appointment, is often the best way to communicate effectively especially for complex issues”.
Funded by the Citizens Information Board , the range of areas covered by the CIS are extremely wide including social welfare rights and entitlements and other social issues such as employment, health services, housing, education, family matters and consumer rights on which people need access to information.
A growing number of customers require in-depth assistance and CIS plays an important role in providing advocacy with, or on behalf of, those people who need it, including people with disabilities, migrants, refugees, lone parents, the Travelling Community, prisoners, geographically isolated people and those who may not have access to digital resources. Basically anyone working or living County Wicklow who has an issue that needs addressing or is at a crossroads in their lives.
For anyone needing impartial, confidential, non-judgemental and informed advice and support the CIS is here to help, throughout the pandemic and as we emerge from the pandemic. There are many ways to access our services. Our website www.citizensinformation.ie is packed full of helpful information.
To find out our opening hours or if you would like us to address a specific query or to book an appointment with a member of our team please contact your local Citizens Information Centre in Bray CIC on 0818 07 6780. We are available from Monday to Friday and our services are free and confidential.