Five Things You Need to Know About Citizens Advice North Herts

Five Things You Need to Know About Citizens Advice North Herts

I’m currently working on our 2020-21 End of Year report and have felt a range of emotions as I look back on our work over the past 12 months. Frustration, sadness, and outrage at some of the situations our clients have found themselves in, through no fault of their own. Relief, hope, and pride at the work we have done to help make the lives of around 5,500 local residents easier during this most difficult of years. I’ll share some insights from our report in a future blog, but as I was feeling proud of the impact we have had on our community last year, I wondered how much people really know about Citizens Advice North Herts.

Citizens Advice has been around nationally and in our district for over 80 years.  Our brand is well known, and we help well over 5,000 people year-after-year in North Herts and South Cambs.  But I know that there are many misconceptions about who we are and what we do, and perhaps we are not top of mind when you think of a local charity.  So, I thought I would make my first regular blog post an introduction to us.

Here are five things that you need to know about Citizens Advice North Herts.

  1. We are an independent local charity. We are not part of the government or the local council and must apply for money and fundraise just like other local charities in order to keep going. This also ensures our advice is independent and impartial and you can trust that what we tell you is the right answer for you, not for anyone else.
  2. More than 50 percent of our workforce are highly trained, dedicated and caring volunteers. Our volunteers work as advisers, receptionists, administrators, marketeers, fundraisers, campaigners and more.  Some volunteers come to us looking for something meaningful to do with their time and to give their lives structure, some come to us to give something back to their community.  Others want work experience and to learn new skills.  Volunteering for us isn’t always easy, but it’s a very rewarding way to spend your time.
  3. You don’t have to come to one of our offices to get advice. You can get help from us via telephone, email, and webchat alongside our in-person service. We also now offer appointments by video and our website has loads of useful information if you want to sort things out yourself.
  4. We provide free and confidential advice on almost everything. We’re well known for being able to give specialist debt and benefits advice, but we can also advise on a wide range of issues in the areas of housing, employment, family matters, consumer problems, energy bills, and more.  And if we can’t help, we’ll make sure we refer or signpost you to someone who can.
  5. We don’t just give advice – we also campaign for change and offer awareness raising sessions. Together with colleagues from other local Citizens Advice offices, we use evidence from our clients to lobby for changes to unfair practices and legislation at a national level.  We also offer awareness raising talks and workshops locally on issues such as scams, energy and financial skills.

Please do get in touch with us.  You can find our opening times and contact details on the website if you want advice or would like to volunteer with us.  And if you would like to donate to help us continue our work, you can do that via the website too.

Rosie Waters