Making the decision to seek help can be a difficult and emotional one, knowing what to expect when you visit our local office before you come can help make your first steps to getting the support and information less daunting.
When you first arrive at Citizens Advice Surrey Heath, you will find yourself in our reception/waiting room where you can speak to the receptionist or ring the bell for assistance on the reception desk. You will be asked to complete a form with basic details such as your name and address and whether you have visited the bureau before. The form will also ask for you to give consent for your records to be held by us and a separate consent for Citizens Advice to be able to follow up on your appointment if necessary. It is often helpful to bring any relevant paperwork with you to the bureau (letters, court demands, benefit claims) so the receptionist can understand what help you need.
At this first meeting or if you return about a separate issue, you will be seen for around 15 minutes by an adviser. Your adviser will ask you questions so they can work out what you should do next and provide you with some initial information to help move your issue forward. Some people are scared of talking about their problems or are embarrassed. Our advisers are specially trained to help you and will listen carefully to your problem without judging you. We want to help you, not make you feel worse.
Our service is provided predominantly by volunteers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in multiple areas. There may be occasions when unfortunately all our advisers are busy and you may be asked to return another time. In these circumstances, we will book you in for the initial appointment to ensure that on your return, you are guaranteed to be seen.
If additional information or support is needed after this preliminary meeting, we will book you an hour long appointment so the query can be investigated in more detail and possible options explored. In addition to the information and resources that our advisers are able to offer, we work closely with other local organisations and where appropriate, we may well direct you to an alternative service if it is evident that you require more specialist information. This might include a free 15 minute appointment with a legal professional at our Tuesday morning legal surgery. All your information will be kept strictly confidential and we will not contact anyone without you agreeing.
Our Advisers will research your options and look at the possible outcomes of different courses of action. They will not tell you what to do but encourage you to make your own informed decisions by advising on your specific needs and giving you the facts on which to base those decisions.Our staff are trained to advise on virtually any issue including:
Our Advisers use all the latest information so that you are armed with the best and most accurate advice.
At the end of your appointment, you and your adviser will come up with a plan of action that will help move things forward. Remember, if the problem needs further help, you might be asked to make an appointment at a later date. Don’t worry if an adviser asks you to come again. The most important thing to remember is not to ignore your problems and to try and get help.
We strive to provide the best possible service and make every effort to provide information and support with whatever issues you may be facing.
Our appointments last approximately 45 minutes. We recognise that unforeseen circumstances sometimes mean that clients are late for, or even miss, their booked appointment with us. Please let us know if you cannot make your appointment so we can offer it to someone else. Please visit our Appointments Policy for more information.
If you only need debt advice we will first give you a short telephone or face-to-face assessment. Before making you a full debt appointment we will ask you to complete a Debt Pack and return it to us. This allows us to assess the best options for you based on the information you have provided. We will then call you to arrange your debt appointment to complete the assessment and help you where appropriate to take the next step. If you need help completing the Debt Pack please contact us.
If you would like a Debt Appointment with us, it would be helpful if you could complete our Debt Pack.