Camberley Citizens Advice was one of the 200 Citizens Advice Bureaux that opened 80 years ago in 1939 as a response to the start of the Second World Ward. It operated two afternoons a week and was staffed by volunteers who gave advice about wartime arrangements such as rationing or conscription and also helped people contact relatives in Europe via the Red Cross. That bureau closed in 1945 with the end of the war but over the years it was recognized that there was still a need for independent and impartial advice in the area as people struggled with problems around housing, debt, employment and other welfare issues.
A new Camberley Citizens Advice Bureau was set up again in 1960 and has continued to grow and develop ever since to reflect changing circumstances such as the economic disruption of the 1970s and large-scale redundancies in the 1980s. As well as providing people with the right advice at the right time to help resolve their problems, we – together with other local Citizens Advice across the country – have been able to gather vital evidence to alert government agencies and corporations as to how they could improve their services. Together with national Citizens Advice we continue to campaign for changes both for legislation and service delivery – from consumer contracts to Universal Credit welfare benefits.
Now named Citizens Advice Surrey Heath – to reflect our reach across the whole of the Borough – and based in Surrey Heath House, we are still mainly staffed by volunteers but the range of services we offer has expanded and the influence of technology has changed our local charity into the professional organisation it is today: Here to help you, whatever your problem.
We continue to hold a debt of gratitude to the 50+ volunteers who give up their time to train as advisers and regularly deliver our service, Monday to Thursday, throughout the year. So, to recognise their fantastic work, we held an 80thanniversary garden party to thank them for their support and commitment. It was a rare opportunity for staff, trustees and volunteers to get together over a glass of Pimms, a cup of tea and many wonderful home-made cakes, scones and delicious treats. The sun shone and we were joined by a few old faces, who have volunteered with us over the years, to share the celebrations.
If you would like to join our team and be part of the next 80 years, we would love to hear from you! We are a friendly bunch and whilst we look for a regular commitment, the work is very rewarding and we provide plenty of training and a fun and supportive environment.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01276 417904 if you would like to find out more.