28 June 2019
A couple of mornings a week, just after 9.30 a small group of people gathers in Redhill High Street. Some sit on the seats by the trees, others wander about, others stand by the door of 24 High Street.
Brian Jenkins is a trustee at Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead.
An independent charity
This is the Redhill office of CARBS, Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead, an independent charity at the heart of the community.
Twice a week* they hold drop-in sessions where people who live or work in the borough can see an adviser and get help with problems on a first-come-first-seen basis.
The people in the High Street, waiting for the door to be opened, will probably have totally different issues they need to talk about.
They may be a disabled person who needs help with the complicated application for Personal Independence Payment. They may be worrying about being made redundant. They may face eviction by a rogue landlord. They might have been scammed by a telephone fraudster or need to escape from an abusive partner.
They can come from all corners of the borough, all parts of the community.
Whatever the issue, one thing they all have in common is they need to turn to someone they can trust to give them straight, reliable help and advice.
And they know that’s just what they will get from Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead. The CARBS team of highly trained, experienced and caring advisers are mainly volunteers from the local community.
In fact it’s quite a thought: for nearly 80 years** local residents have known they can turn to their Local Citizens Advice for free, independent, confidential and reliable advice.
Which is the point of it all really.
As well as drop-in sessions at Redhill, Banstead, Merstham, Horley and Tadworth, CARBS provides advice online, through webchat and by telephone. Find out more. * An experiment to run drop-in sessions 5 days a week begins later this year. ** Citizens Advice celebrates its 80th birthday in September (although not all local offices have been around as long as CARBS).