CAB offered a Christmas lifeline

A CHARITY has been thrown a welcome Christmas lifeline by a KLC client as it prepared to shelve plans to replace its antiquated computers.

Computers donated to CAB

Christine Neville receives computer gift from KLC client Ray Snow

Castle Point Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) was in desperate need of a new computer system as it struggled to meet the growing demands for advice and information from its recession-hit clients.

The replacement of the computers was listed in the charity’s business and development plan for the new year – but it looked set to shelve the project as raising the £7,000 needed was looking less possible.

Now, following an appeal for help, the charity has received a donation of 15 computers which are being reconditioned and set up for use by RES Info-Tech, an IT support company in Benfleet – free of charge.

Christine Neville manages the team of 40 volunteers and staff who dealt with 4,000 face-to-face inquiries this year, as well as email and telephone queries.

She said: “We have a very busy bureau and rely heavily on our computers to enable us to offer the most up-to-date advice and information to our clients. Our old computers were acquired at different times and had different installations, so we have had ongoing problems with basic maintenance.

“You can write whatever you like in a plan, but to be able to raise the money is extremely difficult in this environment with spending cuts.”

With the work of the CAB growing during the recession, it has struggled more and more to make ends meet.

Ms Neville said: “People who gave money to the charity in the past are not now able to give. It has been increasingly difficult in the last year. People often assume the CAB gets Government funding, but we do not. Our photocopying bill alone this year has totalled £5,000.

“This donation means all our computers will be in the same condition and connected to the same network. They will make our working life so much easier. It really is a Christmas bonus for us. The fact a company like RES Info-Tech has given its time and expertise to us free of charge is a god send.”

Ray Snow, of RES Info-Tech, said: “There are so many charities like the CAB which could benefit from cost-effective implementations like this. The work the CAB does for the local community is so important and we are proud to be able to offer our expertise and be a part of their good work.”

To offer your support to the CAB, call 01268 515424.

Farm shop recruits Santa for tasty deliveries

KLC is helping to promote two farm shops in Rayleigh and Orsett, Peafs-on-the-Farm and Peafs-on-the-Heath. Both offer locally-produced goods you would expect to find at a farmer’s market. And this Christmas, Santa is helping with their home deliveries!

Take a look at our article on page 12 of this week’s Essex Enquirer

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Academy students battle it out in first fishing comp

THE first ever inter-Academy fishing match saw the winning Greensward Academy team net a total catch of 48lb 12oz.

The battle, at Churchgate Lakes, near Battlesbridge, saw teams of four from Greensward, in Hockley; Maltings Academy and New Rickstones Academy, both in Witham, take part in a six-hour math to see who could catch the biggest weight of coarse fish.

Working in pairs, the teams drew pegs to determine where on the lake they would fish.

Mike Salisbury, who has set up a BTec course in fish husbandry at Greensward, said: “As predicted, the cold weather meant fishing was slow. An hour into the match, Brandon Reid from Greensward catapulted his team into the lead by landing a cracking 12lb 10oz common carp.

“Shortly after this, his partner Sam Chambers chipped in with a small perch, but Brandon hooked and lost a much bigger carp. He was starting to wonder if this would be a pivotal moment in the contest, as Maltings Academy were keeping in touch by bagging up on the smaller fish. His fears were soon put to bed, as over the coming hours, he pushed Greensward into un unassailable lead by banking no less than three more big carp and a tench, to give his team a final overall weight of 48lbs 12oz.”

Greensward were the overall winners, with Maltings coming in second with a total of 2lbs 10oz and New Rickstones in third with 9oz.

The new Inter-AET (Academy Enterprise Trust) Trophy was presented by fishery manager Tony Runnalls.

Mr Salibsury said: “It was a great experience for everyone involved and we hope this truly marks the start of regular competitive angling events between schools in the AET.”