June 2015                          Unsubscribe from this list
View this email in your browser

An especially huge thank you to our volunteers

We’ve had a very busy couple of months, achieving some great outcomes for our clients. You can read about some of them below.
Volunteers’ Week 2015 took place at the beginning of June, and we took the opportunity to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers. We really couldn’t provide this service without them, and the positive effect they have on so many local lives is testament to their dedication and hard work. Each month our advisers and assessors receive letters and cards from clients thanking them for helping to resolve their problems, and it’s encouraging to know that all the training, concentration and time their roles require make such a difference. Thank you again to all our volunteers.
Click here to read our column in this month’s Mid Sussex Times, talking more about our volunteers’ hard work and the incredible difference they make to local people.
Read this blog by our Volunteer Support Team Leader, Carolyne Smith, talking about her work for us and her continued volunteering for our neighbours, Citizens Advice Wealden.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering for us, please send an email to, or drop into one of our centres.
Breaking news: Crawley included in national housing report
On June 16th, Citizens Advice publised a major new report on failures in the housing market, featuring evidence from eight local Citizens Advices around the UK. Citizens Advice Crawley is one of the eight to be featured, under the heading 'Planned to death? Homogeneity and housing in Crawley'. A summary will feature in our next newsletter, but in the meantime you can read the full report here.
A big thank you to John Baker from the Research and Campaigns team at Citizens Advice Crawley for all the time, research and work he put into collating the evidence within.
Recent great outcomes we have achieved for our clients

In East Grinstead, we helped a client to get a full refund of more than £1,300 on an unsuitable wheelchair. Initially the company were only willing to give a credit note. The client wrote a very kind letter to our adviser, saying ‘I know that without your guidance, expertise and all the kindness that you have shown us, I would probably have lost a great deal of money’.
In Horsham, not only did we help a client to contest a debt of £15,000 to the Child Support Agency, but we also helped a client to receive 12 years of backdated state pension.

In Crawley we've been helping a long-term client with mental health issues, who was struggling to repay a tax credit overpayment of nearly £3,000, passed on by HMRC to debt collectors. Our adviser alerted HMRC to both their own Code of Practice showing that repayment would cause hardship to our client, as well as the Money Advice Service's Guidelines for Consumers with Mental Health Problems and Debt. Consequently HMRC will not pursue the debt until the client's financial situation improves. Our adviser also helped the same client to gain an award of more than £1,600 from the EDF Energy Trust.
In Burgess Hill we helped a client whose identity had been fraudulently used to take out an expensive mobile phone contract. Despite a crime reference number and statement from the police, the phone provider had persisted in pursuing the client for payments. We helped the client to write a complaints letter, and as a result the provider has recognised that the client was a victim of crime, and is no longer accountable.

Service news

Please note that from Monday June 29th, the opening times for Adviceline (a free, volunteer-led telephone advice service in West Sussex, provided along with our colleagues at Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester) will be changing to 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday. Please call 0344 477 1171.
Energy Best Deal advice
Fuel poverty, especially in the winter months, has been a growing problem in recent years. We’re pleased to announce that we are able to book special one-to-one advice meetings on energy-related issues, so that clients will be able to receive help to deal with an energy consumer issues, managing fuel bills, claiming benefits or reducing their household outgoings on fuel. This project is particularly targeted at those with disabilities or who are chronically sick, pensioners, people in rural areas, or on low incomes. This is funded by Citizens Advice in conjunction with Ofgem.

Find out more about Energy Best Deal here.
Advice Development Network to close
Our Big Lottery-funded project, the Advice Development Network, will finish at the end of August 2015, as the funding period comes to a close. We’ve accomplished a huge amount since the project began in September 2013, working successfully in partnership with both Guild Care and Shelter, and we’ve established great links with other local organisations in Adur and Worthing. We’ve trained not only our own staff and volunteers but also extended our training to teams from other charities, so they could pass their knowledge on to their own clients. Thank you to the team who have worked especially hard on the project and who helped make it so successful.
We continue to search for alternative funding to build on the good work achieved so far by the project, and look for partners to work with to improve the lives of people in West Sussex for the future.
Exciting news about our Lancing centre
We’re always striving to find more efficient and effective ways of giving information to our clients. As such, the service we provide at Citizens Advice Lancing will be changing. From August 1st, 2015, we will be opening the Lancing Citizens Advice Information Hub at our existing premises at Lancing Parish Hall.
Clients who visit will be able to access information and services via the internet as well as access a library of resources, guided by our Information Assistants with no initial form-filling or waiting time. Clients will also be able to use the internet, our email and telephone services to get the information and advice they need to make informed decisions. Full advice appointments will continue to be available in the Lancing office. 
This model of accessing services is already proven and successful at other Citizens Advices around the country, and we’re looking forward to introducing it in Lancing.
The service will be open from Monday-Thursday, 9.30am-4pm. Lancing clients who wish to see a Citizens Advice adviser are very welcome to visit our Shoreham-by-Sea or Worthing centres, or call 0344 477 1171.
A focus on employment advice – case study
We can help with employment issues as part of our portfolio, but due to the subject’s complexity, our regular advisers often aren’t able to give detailed advice on difficult employment issues. We are lucky to have three volunteer employment specialists – one in Crawley/Horsham and two in East Grinstead. From July we will also provide a service one day a week in Shoreham.
Employment law changes regularly and rapidly, and a specialist’s knowledge must be the much the same as that of an employment lawyer. This requires keeping abreast of case law and attending employment law training two or three times a year at Citizens Advice head office.
Since the introduction of Tribunal fees, more time is now spent writing to an employer and trying to find an acceptable outcome for our clients: a Tribunal is a last resort. ​Now, it is also necessary to seek early conciliation via ACAS (for free) before going to Tribunal. If a Tribunal is unavoidable, it can last several days, particularly if it is a discrimination case. However as Martin Phillips, adviser for 12 years and employment specialist for the last four, based in Crawley says, ‘to succeed against a large company and uphold the rights of the employee is immensely satisfying’.
Martin has achieved some great outcomes recently for his clients, including a recent case of disability discrimination:
The client was employed by a large company in a junior manager position for several years. For the last three years, the company was aware that the client had dyslexia, and an eye problem which meant a special display for his computer was necessary. However the company failed to install the correct software despite three requests from Occupational Health.
After the client’s department was restructured and his position made redundant, he applied for a new job at the company. The interview involved timed computer based tests; the client requested assistance and additional time to complete the tests, but this was refused. He failed this part of the interview, and was not offered the job. He was offered a lower salaried post, which he felt he had to accept.
We took the client’s claim for disability discrimination to an employment tribunal, and the case was settled out of court at the point of exchanging witness statements.
If you’re a Citizens Advice adviser and you would like to refer a client to one of the employment specialists, please check with your supervisor first and then book an appointment for the client via Petra.

Making a complaint about an NHS service can be complicated, lengthy and stressful. Our ICAS team - Independent Complaints Advocacy Service, provided under the Healthwatch West Sussex umbrella - can provide free advocacy to support you through the process. You can now download a host of self-help tools to assist you when writing an NHS complaints letter, on the ICAS page of the Healthwatch West Sussex website. These include a template letter and hints and tips on what to include.

We're delighted to annouce that Ben Dolley, Team Leader for the ICAS service (Independent Complaints Advocacy Service), has achieved the City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate for Independent Advocacy (Independent Advocacy Management). Many congratulations to Ben on this formal recognition of his advocacy skill!

Healthwatch West Sussex are holding an event and lunch for their volunteers on June 25th at Billingshurst Village Hall, to say a huge thank you for all their work and achievements and to share how their contributions help to make the work of Healthwatch such a success.
Fundraising news
An intrepid team of fundraisers from across our organisation will be taking to the skies on Thursday, June 18th, to raise money for our service. Up to ten volunteers and staff are taking on Go Ape Crawley – a tree-top adventure including zip wires at Tilgate Park - and have already raised more than £800 including Gift Aid. The team, made up of Jason Mather, Lee Furlong, John Rutherford, Chris Smith, Kate Shillingford, James Davies, Matt West, Dipesh Palana and Nina Kloster Aasen, would love your support – you can sponsor them here. We’ll bring you some photos of our high-flyers in the next newsletter!
Katie Rabone, our temporary freelance fundraiser, undertook the enormous challenge of the Arundel Lido Triathlon at the end of May, and raised money for us along with two other fantastic charities, Headway West Sussex and Nile Swimmers. Thank you Katie.
Our Chair, John Rutherford, is taking part in the Round the Island race, sailing all the way around the Isle of Wight, on June 27th, and raising money for us in the process – you can sponsor him here. Good luck John!
We’re delighted to be one of the charities of the month for June at both Asda Lancing and Waitrose Horsham. Please choose us when dropping your green tokens!
We’re looking forward to taking part in the Chichester Legal Walk, organised by the London Legal Support Trust, in September.
If you’re taking part in any events or challenges and would like to help local people by raising money for our service, please send an email to Thank you!
Getting out and about
We ran a stand at the Haywards Heath ‘Time For You’ event for carers on June 11th, organised by Haywards Heath Town Council to coincide with the yearly natonal Carers' Week, to let local carers know how we may be able to help them.
We attended the Virtual Dementia Tour, part of the Burgess Hill Dementia Friendly Town launch on May 28th, and made some useful contacts for people and their families who have been recently diagnosed with dementia in the local area.

On June 18th we will be talking at the Sangam Women’s Centre in Crawley, to let the group know about our local service.
We’re looking forward to the Worthing Lions Festival, which we’ll be attending on Sunday July 26th.  If you’d like to help at our stand, or you could donate a prize to our raffle, please drop us a line at
Jason Mather, supervisor in Crawley, was lucky enough to attend The Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 28th, in recognition of his hard work and dedication. Jason was nominated by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Daphne Anthony, who is one of our long-standing volunteers in Crawley.
Jason says about the experience:
'The weather was stunning on the day and despite a major drama with my partner’s dress failing to be delivered on time (we bought one at John Lewis half an hour before we were due to be there!) the day was fantastic and very memorable. The Queen, Prince Phillip, Princess Anne and a smattering of other Royals were there, and although we didn’t get to speak to them, we got to see them up close and have a good look around the gardens at Buckingham Palace. We both thoroughly enjoyed it so thank you Daphne!'
Copyright © 2015 Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East), All rights reserved.

Unsubscribe from this list  

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp