A CITIZENS Advice Bureau has been forced to slash its opening hours after a council made cuts to its funding.

Directors at Wrexham’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) said the move to only open on two days a week would have a ‘devastating impact’ on the community.

However, they said they had been left with no choice after Wrexham Council lowered funding from £99,000 to just £25,000 in the last few years.

The changes will also see a weekly drop-in service at Chirk Library come to an end, despite it previously being held every Monday for the last 29 years.

A spokesperson said: “We requested £50,000 but actually received a grant of only £25,000 from the council and have therefore done our best to raise additional funds through donations from the public.

“Gwyn Evans, a volunteer, raised over £7,000 from his campaign on Just Giving based on his health issues and we would take this opportunity to thank all those who have donated to this.

“However, given the decrease in our council funding from £99,000 three years ago, to what we now have at our disposal, it is with regret that we are now obliged to provide a reduced level of open door service.

“The dedicated directors, staff and 23 fully trained volunteer advisers who trained in their own time to qualify, acknowledge the devastating impact of this necessary action, particularly at a time when our services are needed more, not less, by the communities we serve.”

CAB provides free in-depth on issues ranging from benefits queries, debt advice and housing issues to workers’ and consumer rights and immigration.

It deals with about 21,000 enquiries every year from members of the public in Wrexham, but in 2015 the local authority decided to gradually phase out funding.

Executive board members planned to cut the amount it provides to zero at a meeting in June before making a dramatic U-turn by agreeing to give £25,000 over the next 12 months.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas described the overall reduction in funding as ‘disgraceful’ and said leading councillors should take full responsibility for the change to opening times.

He said: “I’m deeply concerned by the reduction in advice services in Wrexham at a time when there is huge pressure on individuals suffering from problems with PIP payments, Universal Credit and other forms of benefits.

“There has been a clear increase in the pressure on such services in the town – and this should not be met with funding cuts from the local council.

“In fact, I find it disgraceful that a reduction in funding has taken place in this environment.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Marc Jones, who represents the Grosvenor ward where the service is based, has called for an extra £25,000 to be handed over to maintain the service.

He said: “Cutting down the service will put added pressures on hard-pressed council staff and it’s a false economy when you consider the service brought an extra £200,000 into the borough last year.

“Wrexham Council faces financial challenges but this cut was petty and badly considered.”

Reduced hours will now see CAB open its doors for general advice only on Wednesdays and Fridays from September.

Staff said appointments for specialist advice can be made through its Adviceline phone number on 0300 330 1178.

When its doors are closed, potential clients are advised to visit either Wrexham Council’s Contact Wrexham centre on Lord Street or the Job Centre on Grosvenor Road.

The last drop-in session in Chirk will be held on September 10.

Wrexham Council has been asked to comment.