CITIZENS Advice Harlow is a charity that helps thousands of people in the community to resolve their legal, money and a huge variety of other issues by providing free and supportive advice.
The Charity is run by both paid workers and volunteers, who all work hard together to ensure that everyone’s needs are hopefully resolved. The bureau gives advice to citizens who live and work in Harlow.
Citizens Advice nationally celebrated its 80th year of service on September 4 2019. The charity was formed at the onset of WWII and originally helped people deal with impacts of war. The charity and its local network has helped over 2.7 million people. There are 3,400 community locations in England and Wales.
At Citizens Advice Harlow (CAH) there are 40 people who volunteer. They all work different hours, with some working one day a week and others several times a week.
All volunteers have to complete a training course which educates them on issues such as employment, benefits, tax credits, education, immigration and asylum. There are many more issues that they are trained in which they then apply and offer support at the bureau.
At CAH some of the volunteers have been given the opportunity to have paid roles. For example, Kathryn Claydon joined as a volunteer two years ago, and today she is the head of recruitment, head of training and the session supervisor
Kathryn, said “Training helps with everyday life, it helps you learn to deal with your own and other people’s emotions.”
Twenty-year-old Molly Andrews has worked at CAH for four years. She is paid as lead information assistant and a level one advisor.
Molly first started working at CAH when she finished school. She became an apprentice and then started volunteering for two months. She said “I find it really rewarding helping people and I like just taking five minutes out of my day chatting to someone who hasn’t got anyone at home.”
A volunteer at CAH, Nicki Douglas said “I love my job I find it so rewarding. Clients come back to tell us that we have supported them, and helped them.”
Ayub Khan who is CEO of CAH said, “I have definitely seen an increase in number of clients. The volunteers are the lifeblood of CAH.
“It’s not unusual to see a queue of people outside the office at 9:30 am. We are here to serve the community and the residents, that’s what we are all about.”
Demand for accessing services at CAH continues to be popular, assisting a range of individuals with multiple issues. The statistics from 2018 to 2019 show that they have gained hundreds of new clients. In 2018 there were 431 clients who accessed advice for debt related issues. So far in 2019 there has been 367 clients; additionally, there were 230 clients with issues related to employment in 2018 and so far, 131 people in 2019.
Here is a graph which compares the results from the CAB from the years of 2018 and 2019 it shows who uses their services. The graph indicates that the types of people helped are very similar with just a small decrease in 2019 in relation to the disabled.
If you wish to contact or visit the Harlow CAB –
Contact number- 01279770189
Address- 13-15 East Gate, Harlow CM20 1HP
They are open 10am to 4pm Monday- Friday