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Council bids to fightback against credit crunch

October 29, 2008 12:00 AM

Rochdale's Finance Boss - Councillor Greg CouzensRochdale Council say that there is lots of help and support available to help you or your business during the current economic downturn and they have provided a list of facilities that could be of assistance.

Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Greg Couzens, says all you need to do is phone, email or visit to access most of the services, and many of them are free.

"With many feeling the impact of the credit crunch it's important to remember that support is available. It is vital that you ensure you are prepared, and get access to the right advice and support when you need it," he said.

Assistance for residents struggling with debt and advice on how to take the benefits to which they are entitled is a top priority say council bosses who are also encouraging residents to take advantage of their free help in finding employment or training:

Every Friday there are Citizens Advice sessions held at the Employment Links Centre on Drake Street, Rochdale. Help is free and covers advice on dealing with debt and claiming benefits. Employment Links also provides advice, assistance and training for those looking for jobs or having been made redundant. Employers can get free help with filling any vacancies and redundancy support. Phone 01706 646471 or call in for any of these services.

J21 in Rochdale can help any construction workers who find themselves being made redundant. Call 01706 646471 for advice and details of other job vacancies.

The 'At Work Community Employment' also provides support to help you get training and find employment in Heywood. Phone 01706 621122.

If you are struggling to pay your rent or council tax, call the revenues and benefits team on 0845 121 2970.

For information and advice on mortgage or rent arrears phone 01706 764132.

Across Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale the council's seven customer service centre's can provide information about lots of council services including housing, benefits, childcare and council recruitment.

Deputy Council Leader Irene Davidson, said it's important that everyone who needs help asks: "This is a worrying time for many. The credit crunch could be making it difficult for people. Our customer service centres will be able to advise and help people but the important thing is to seek advice early."

If you run a business help is at hand too, with a range of support aimed at helping you fightback:

The Small Business Rate Relief Scheme provides discounts to small businesses occupying property with a rateable value of less than £15,000. Phone 01706 926170.

If you would like to move your business into more affordable premises contact the Rochdale Development Agency on 01706 868999 or visit www.investinrochdale.co.uk

Construction companies can get support in finding contract opportunities in Rochdale borough and Oldham. Contact Bob Barber at Junction 21 on 01706 646471.

The Employment Links Centre also offers advice and support for businesses facing redundancies, together with human resources and recruitment help. For details phone 01706 925636.

Firms can also get general advice on marketing and survival by calling 01706 925001. Women's Enterprise offers free help to women in business - phone Barbara Davidson on 01706 646471.

Business Link Northwest has a number of online tools and guides aimed at assisting local businesses to combat the effects of the credit crunch. Find them all at www.businesslink.gov.uk/northwest/creditcrunch

Support for businesses and residents seeking information, advice and guidance in Heywood - contact 01706 362270.

Councillor Couzens continued: "There is a wealth of support for businesses and residents, whether it be advice, funding or training opportunities, they just need to get in touch."