The Citizen Information service is a confidential information, advice and advocacy services provided free of charge and open to all, writes Susan McCabe.
Impartial and non-judgemental, Citizen Information Centres are independent, local organisations who are registered charities, governed by a voluntary Board of Directors.
The Ballina Citizens’ Information Centre is located at Dillon Terrace, Ballina. It’s open Monday to Friday: 10am to 1pm and Tuesday: 2pm to 5pm.
Citizen Information is a drop -in service that provides a face-to-face service – which is free, confidential and independent. This service is available in over 250 locations nationwide and you do not need an appointment.
This service provides information and advice on your rights and entitlements to a broad range of public and social services, no matter what stage you are at in your life. Citizen Information gathers and source information from various government department and agencies and they make sure that the community have all the information they need to access their rights or entitlements presented in in an easy to understand way.
How can Ballina Citizen’s Information Centre help you?
They can help you get what you are entitled to, such as information on payments and allowances. They will help you to fill in forms, and with any appeals or to make a complaint.
The service can provide information on the following:
– Housing matters with regards to renting and owning a home, local authority and social housing, housing grants and schemes, planning permission or landlord and tenants’ rights.
– Education and training:
– Offer advice on preschools, education and childcare.
– Grants for returning to education, vocational education and training
– Employment: Starting work, changing your job, employment contracts, maternity and paternity leave, employment contracts – rights and conditions, redundancy and retirement.
– Health: medical cards, GP visit cards, drugs and medicines.
– Woman’s and children’s health services
– Older people and those with disabilities.
– Family Matters: getting married, services for children – adoption, fostering;
– Family income supplement,
– Rights and entitlements for single parents.
– Bereavement, wills and probate.
– Social welfare: finding what you are entitled to and claiming your benefits, social assistance, means tests, disability and illness benefit, carers and supplementary welfare schemes.
– Moving country: Visa requirements for entering Ireland, Irish citizenship and emigrating
Looking towards the future Ballina Citizen’s Information Centre will continue to do the following:
– Ensure that members of the community have access to accurate, comprehensive and clear information relating to social services
– Will assist and support the community, in particular those with disabilities, in identifying and understanding their needs and options.
– Promote greater accessibility, co-ordination and public awareness of social services
– They will support, promote and develop the provision of information on the effectiveness of current social policy and services and to highlight issues which are of concern to users of those services
– To support the provision of, or directly provide, advocacy services for members of the community with a disability.
– To support the provision of advice on personal debt and money management through the Money Advice and Budgeting Service
So if you are struggling to access your entitlements drop in and they will be more than happy to offer a face to face service that is completely free confidential and independent with no appointment necessary.