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 2015/16, we helped solve 23,676 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, politically 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
Mission statement

To ensure that individuals do not suffer through the lack of knowledge of their rights and responsibilities or of the services available to them. To help ensure that people are able to express their needs effectively. 

History

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.

Our aspirations

To be acknowledged as the lead provider of comprehensive, holistic and accessible advice in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

Strategic plans

Demand for our service is growing.

We answered 2,000 additional questions this year than last year.

We serve a population of around 273,000. In the next 10 years, it is predicted that this could grow to 363,000.

Our Strategic Priorities for continuing to meet the needs of this growing population are:

1. Further Development of Digital Services

We aim to increase our digital services to reach more people by:

  • Developing our website and social media.
  • Adding features to our anti-scam smartphone app and looking at more ways apps could help people.
  • Developing an advice service over Skype.

2. Make our Face to Face Service more Accessible

Face to Face advice is still very important and we aim to make it more accessible by developing more outreach services to help people in their communities.

3. Increase the use of our service by Young People

Young people aged 16-24 make up 22% of the local population but just 9% of our clients. We need to identify ways to address this imbalance.

  • We need to increase awareness of how we can support this age group.
  • Ensure that we offer services to them in the manner they require.