Wyre Council has approved funding of £8,000 to trial digital kiosks to be installed across the borough to enable the Citizens Advice Lancashire West to reach more residents.

Citizens Advice Lancashire West (CALW) provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. They offer advice on topics such as debt advice, immigration, housing and healthcare.

The trial will see digital kiosks or ‘self-help terminals’ being rolled out across the borough that use speech recognition to assist clients with little or no IT skills.

These terminals will be placed in a few locations around Wyre as a pilot to prove its use and effectiveness. If successful it could lead to a wider roll out across Wyre. It is envisaged that this will expand the service provision in many more locations such as GP Surgeries and community venues.

The system provides self-help tools as well as direct access to video advice and the ability to book appointments for a call back.

As part of our COVID-19 response and recognising increased demand on CALW, the council has also provided an extra £15,480 to support the service, which is in addition to the £30,000 grant funding three year service level agreement with CALW.

This funding has helped to extend opening hours of their sites in Wyre to accommodate early evening and weekend sessions as well as adding video advice sessions delivered via ‘attend anywhere software’ that creates a virtual reception area and meeting rooms.

Cllr Michael Vincent, Portfolio Holder for Resources at Wyre Council, commented, “We recognise that although we’re coming out of lockdown restrictions from the pandemic, it has ultimately had a devastating impact on many of our residents and it will take time for many of us to recover.

“That’s why we want to help enable Citizens Advice to reach as many of our residents as possible and support those with the greatest need.”

Details of the location of the digital kiosks will be advertised through Citizens Advice Lancashire West as the kiosk are currently in development stages.

For more information on advice available for Wyre residents, visit citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk