Who we are

Cambridge and District Citizens Advice is a registered charity that provides free advice and support to any member of the public on problems they face in their everyday lives. We also undertake research and campaigning work in order to improve the policies and practices that affect them.

We offer help in relation to a wide range of social welfare areas. We can help you enforce employment rights, manage your money, improve your housing, and access benefit entitlements. We also promote consumer rights, such as protecting people from scams and rogue traders.

In 2017/18, we helped solve 36,482 issues.

Cambridge & District Citizens Advice is part of a network of around 320 other local Citizens Advice Offices. We are all regulated by, and members of, National Citizens Advice who audit the quality of our work regularly.

Our work is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and our Money Advisers are all members of the Institute of Money Advisers.

We are an accredited Living Wage employer and are members of Go Green, Travel for Cambridgeshire and the British Quality Foundation.

Aims

We provide free, independent, non-judgemental, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination.

Our service aims are:

  • To provide the advice people need for the problems they face
  • To help people to become more self reliant to deal with problems in the future
  • To improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives
History
Our bureau in 1983

Cambridge & District Citizens Advice was one of the first Bureaux to be set up in 1939 at the start of World War II. We were created to advise people on practical and legal issues connected with the war. These included rationing, housing, blackouts and financial issues.

Things did not get much easier for people after the war. This meant that the Citizens Advice service was still necessary to provide support and advice on a growing number of problems, including around benefits from the new welfare system set up in 1948.

Over the years, the exact nature of the problems people have shared with us has continued to change, as have the ways in which we deliver advice. We used to deliver advice using horse carts and now there are over 320 local Citizens Advice offices.

Our Bureau is now one of the largest in the country. We have gained a reputation for being forward thinking - for example the Cabinet Office has cited our self -help touch screen kiosk offer in the Low Commission on the Future of Advice Services.

Strategic plans

Our business plan arches 3 years but we review it regularly using various mechanisms such as community and client profiling, reviewing the economic and political landscape, and a variety of of other planning measures and indicators.

However, probably the most important review happens in spring each year when we offer an open invitation to volunteers, staff, trustees, patrons, members, and anyone with an interest in the work we do to come along to a workshop to share their ideas and to help shape our key priorities for the coming year.

In March 2018 we agreed the following priorities for the year:
• Changes to benefits such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment
• Research and campaigns e.g. the impact of the new Homelessness Reduction Act.
• Profile raising – recruit volunteers, fundraising, engage with young people and the corporate world
Partnership development – maintain and develop outreaches, especially at Addenbrooke’s hospital.
• Explore different channels for advice such as webchat and Skype