Colleagues at Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead Outreach have begun a completely new service. Since October, their focus has been people who face complex and overwhelming problems but find it hard to communicate by phone. Pre-Covid-19 they held face-to-face advice sessions at Merstham, Horley and Tadworth.
Outreach Coordinator Helen says: “We have the time to listen to clients and help them prioritise their issues. The best outcome is when clients gain the self-belief and positive attitude to face their challenges – they can make decisions on their own or with the right support.”
Of course, the team is always on hand with specialist advice if needed.
“It’s really important that even in these times we can arrange face-to-face appointments in most areas of the borough. We can collect documents from client’s homes but unfortunately can’t enter because of lockdown.”
Helen continues: “Sometimes we need an imaginative approach to meeting people. Our colleague Allan had a socially-distanced meeting on a couple of picnic chairs outside a client’s house! Last week I had a client appointment in Horley High Street!”
“Our most frequent outreach problems are housing and homelessness, debt and benefits, but we can help with any issue at all. It’s the normal service, really, but sometimes in rather unusual settings!”
The team is looking forward to resuming regular sessions as soon as lockdown ends. Until then, we’re helping some of our more vulnerable clients with our new way of working.
If you know someone who might benefit from the Outreach service, please call 01737 931060 and leave a message, Horley and Merstham: 01737 931065. We will get back to you within 2 working days.