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Citizens Advice Southend Helping people find a way forward

Date: June 2018

Citizens Advice Southend Helping people find a way forward

Citizens Advice Southend is an independent registered charity. We are affiliated to a central organisation, known as Citizens Advice, itself a registered charity, which provides us with training and support. Citizens Advice is the UK’s largest provider of advice, and nearly half the population has used its services at some point in their lives.

We’re here for everyone

We provide free, confidential advice to help people overcome their problems. We offer information, representation, guidance and support and we campaign on big issues when people’s voices need to be heard.

Our aim is that everyone who needs our help will be able to obtain free advice to find a way forward.

Fairness and impartiality are at the heart of our service. We value diversity, champion equality and challenge discrimination and harassment.                                                          

How we help

We deal with any issue, from debt, benefits, housing and employment, to consumer problems, relationships, family matters, education, discrimination, immigration and
the law.

We take up disputes with local councils, various government departments, with gas and electricity suppliers and many other bodies, who know that legitimate complaints will be pursued efficiently.

Annually, we help around 7,000 people.

Research & campaigning

As well as helping individuals with their problems, we put their experience to good use, and, where appropriate, we campaign for change – both at local and national level. This work, also called social policy, relies on anonymised analysis of client issues to identify any trends that need addressing.

How to get help

We offer advice through a choice of channels, the majority of it is provided face-to-face. A client arriving at our offices at 1 Church Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2AL between 10am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday with a new issue will be greeted by our receptionist and invited to wait for an interview to assess their situation. Often, it’s possible to deal fully with the issue at that initial interview. In certain circumstances, we will arrange an appointment for the client to attend again to see either a generalist adviser or a specialist adviser. Alternatively, the client may be referred to another agency that is able to deal with the issue better than we can.

Our advisers listen to the client and offer them options to move them forward as much as possible towards resolving their problem. Sometimes, there is no solution, and they have to help people to come to terms with this.

As well as offering advice from our own offices we provide outreach sessions at a number of locations across the town.

We also undertake assessments by telephone.  We do this through our membership of Adviceline, which operates as a virtual call centre for Citizens Advice offices across Essex. The Adviceline number is 0344 477 0808 and operates from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

National Citizens Advice continues to invest considerable effort into developing a large databank of information, and this is available online to the public via the website
www.citizensadvice.org.uk. Advice is provided by webchat and email through the national service accessed through the website.

We have a local website

www.citizensadvicesouthend.org.uk.
We are on Twitter (@CitizensAdviceSonSea) and Facebook (Citizens Advice Southend) where we post information about our campaigns and news about our services. 

As a result, some clients are able to obtain all the information they need without having to make an appointment to see or speak to an adviser. For others, the online information offers guidance as to when they should seek further help at a local Citizens Advice. This not only benefits those individuals, but also allows more time for us to deal with other, more complex issues.

Our greatest asset: Our people

We currently employ 18 paid staff and we have a much larger body of around 86 volunteer workers, without whose efforts we would be unable to provide the level of service we do.

Our staff and volunteers represent our greatest asset, and we have enjoyed their loyalty and dedication through the years and continue to do so.

How can you help us?

Volunteer with us - we are always looking for volunteers, if you are interested please register via our website –
www.citizensadvicesouthend.org.uk

Become a member – if you are over the age of 18 and interested in becoming more involved in the running of the charity please contact Trish Carpenter on 01702 456370 for
an application

Make a donation - as a registered charity we welcome donations to enable us to keep Citizens Advice a free service.

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