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A helping hand for our clients at Christmas from the Chairman's Fund

Throughout the year we meet many people experiencing extreme hardship through no fault of their own. These issues don't go away at Christmas and many people continue to struggle at a time when most of us are relaxing and enjoying festivities with the ones we love.

This year, thanks to the generosity of the Chairman's Trust Fund at Horsham District Council, our nominated clients have each received a £100 Sainsbury's voucher to help towards Christmas. 

One such client is Mrs A who is a vulnerable pensioner with significant physical and mental health disabilities. We are helping her to avoid eviction and resolve disputed non payment of rent by a rogue landlord whilst also helping her to find secure and safe housing.

Mrs A's monthly rent includes the cost of heating and hot water but on many occasions the landlord has not filled the oil tank so she has been forced to heat her home with electric heaters which she has struggled to pay for and led to her taking on debt. The property is in disrepair and despite always communicating with her landlord, the promised repairs have not been forthcoming. This leaves Mrs A in significant hardship which is exacerbating her existing health conditions.  

Mrs A has received a voucher and was so grateful and surprised to be awarded a voucher which we were able to give to her and some of our other clients, thanks to the Chairman's Fund.

Nicholas Soames MP visits Citizens Advice Haywards Heath to discuss the big issues facing local people

Nicholas Soames MP made a visit to Citizens Advice Haywards Heath on 16 October to meet the team of staff and volunteers helping local people to overcome problems ranging from housing to employment. He  met with Julie Martin, Service Director and Lee Furlong, Client Services Manager together with staff, volunteers and clients and spent time listening to the top issues affecting constituents in Haywards Heath.
Each year, Citizens Advice Haywards Heath help more than 3100 people with over 6000 problems.

Nicholas said;
“It has been a pleasure to meet the staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Haywards Heath, who do so much to help the people of Mid Sussex with their problems."

Citizens Advice Haywards Heath has a unique insight into the most current issues facing local people and we were pleased to welcome Nicholas Soames to share our experiences first-hand. With more people struggling than ever before, it’s vital that we’re here to provide free advice to help people get back on their feet. Every year we help thousands of people who have nowhere else to turn, and we look forward to working with Nicholas Soames so that we can help many more.

We have a new website...

We have just had our website redesigned to reflect our new brand and logo. It now has a more modern feel and look and is easier to navigate. 

Take a look at our new site at


Welcome to our new volunteers

A big warm welcome to all our new volunteers who joined us in October and November and have completed their induction. 

Teresa Bennis, Hannah Brett, Di Bright, Jacqui Charman, Hayes Dockerall, Sara Doyle, Roger Dugdale, Leena Gurung, Karen Hanson, Matthew Hillman, Peter Hollloway, Cathrin Istifanous, Shirley Lilywhite, Denise Low, Navpreet Mangat, Sue Midgely, Mehreen Moghul, Anne Rodriguez, Jonathan Ross, Richard Silander, Chrissie Silverwood, Lesley Taylor, Gwen Thomas, Jackie Weynberg, Stephen White

Our new volunteers will cover a number of essential roles for us which will help us to continue to provide the advice people need to solve their problems. This includes Assessors, Receptionists and Campaigns and Research volunteers.

We are always grateful of new volunteers, we provide full training and support.
If you are interested in volunteering for us or would just like to find out more email us at


Research and Campaigns

It has been a busy year for the Research and Campaigns team. With the introduction of Universal Credit, we are surveying clients in selected centres to assess levels of online access/capability, with a view to reporting to Local Authorities and the DWP in the New Year. Early results show that around 40% of people would need some kind of help with online applications, and few people know where to go for free training.

In several centres we have seen a spike in problems with housing: access to homelessness services, getting repairs done, benefit delays causing rent arrears. We are carrying out further research in these areas until end January 2016, when we expect to report our findings.

We have also been taking part in the national Renters’ Rights campaign concentrated on rogue landlords in the private sector. Citizens Advice has been pressing for more protection for tenants and we were pleased to see changes under the Deregulation Act, in force from 1 October, which target retaliatory evictions and improve protection regarding how an assured short hold tenancy ends. 

We are extremely grateful to the Team who work tirelessly to collect and coordinate evidence and feedback issues to the wider Citizens Advice network, resulting in changes which improve everyone's rights.

This work is all thanks to the dedication and hard work of our Research and Campaigns Team  Liz Chesters, John Baker, Ian Fraser-Roberts, Jane Handley, Heather Sleep and James Willer. 


Shoreham Move Postponed until New Year

The move to the new Shoreham Centre for Citizens Advice Shoreham by Sea has been postponed until the New Year.  

People can still drop in for advice at the Civic Centre in Ham Road, Shoreham. 9.30am-4pm Monday Tuesday Wednesday and Friday. (*note Christmas opening times below)

Christmas Opening Hours and Centres

Over the Christmas period will be closing some of our offices.. 

All of our centres will close on Christmas Eve at 1.00 pm.

Horsham, Worthing and Crawley will be open again on the 29th, 30th & 31st December in between 10.00am - 3.00pm.

Our normal opening hours will resume on Monday 4th January 2016.

Central and South Sussex Citizens Advice
Healthwatch Promotion at Haywards Heath Town Day

Staff and volunteers from Citizens Advice Haywards Heath had a stand at the Town’s Open Day in September to promote the service and the partnership with Healthwatch. 
It was a busy day with lots of people coming to visit our stand at the event in Victoria Park. We used the event to promote Healthwatch and devised a short questionnaire to use as a tool to engage people with
the service.
We used the questionnaire to ask them about their experiences and took the opportunity to tell them about what Healthwatch does. We also mingled with the crowds, giving out flyers and letting people know how they can access this service at any Citizens Advice Centre.

To find out more about Healthwatch visit 

One of our Macmillan advisers recently assisted with a Pension Credit claim on their behalf of our clients, however they were advised by two different operators that the couple's income was too high and they did not qualify.  The Adviser persisted with the claim and argued our clients eligibility.  The Pension Service then apologised as they had not calculated correctly and not applied all the appropriate premiums in their calculations.
The client and his wife have now been awarded £29 a week Pension Credit.  This benefit also means they can claim back travel expenses to and from hospital, have free eye sight tests, and free dental treatment.
In total we have assisted this couple with an additional benefit income of £193.32 a week.  The client said he would not have pursued any of the claims himself without our help.  We have also raised this case with our Research and Campaigns team, due to the administration errors of the Pension Service.  This will highlight and monitor if miscalculations by the Pension Service are a wide spread issue or if this was just a one off. 

The NHS Complaints Support Team (ICAS) have received lots of feedback from clients over the last year, about the help and support they have received and what it means for them. The team support hundreds of people every year to make and pursue a complaint against a Health Service. 

Many clients when pursuing a complaint are still in the process of receiving treatment or have only recently used the health service involved. Often they are feeling quite raw about their experiences so having someone to help them write a letter of complaint, help them pursue it and advocate on their behalf, can relieve them of a tremendous amount of stress during an often already upsetting and difficult time. 

Here is some of the feedback from clients helped by the ICAS team;

"The support that I received gave me the confidence to come forward with my complaint. It has been the turning point for me in my recovery. This is an essential service to us."

"I received excellent support in fighting for answers and progressing things where nothing was happening on my own" 

"Hi Ben,
Thank you very much for your help and great work in our inquest case for Oliver. We do so appreciate you being there and the help you gave and for speaking on our behalf. You are a fine man."

To find out more or to get help with a complaint visit you can use the online form or call on 0300 303 8536.

Adviser helps client to solve Council Tax problem

One of our advisers in Horsham has sucessfully helped a client to get discretionary relief of council tax.

The adviser sent an email to Council involved in October explaining our client’s circumstances and requesting that the Council uses its discretion under Section 9 of the Local Government Finance Act 2012 (substitution for Section 13a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992) to remit our client’s Council Tax arrears on the grounds of severe financial hardship. This has proved successful with the council writing off almost £1200 of council tax arrears
The adviser also gained confirmation from the Council that they had also recalled the matter from the enforcement agent and have written to the client with a revised council tax demand notice will showing a zero balance.  Great news!

Fundraising news

A big thank you to the Chairman's Fund at Horsham District Council who made 5 awards of a £100 voucher, to clients we nominated. This will make such a difference to the clients who receive them who have been very happy and surprised to receive them.

Our Horsham Office recently received a donation from a very happy client we had helped to resolve an issue for. 


The client specifically wanted us to use it towards a Christmas gathering which was gratefully received and attended by over 40 for staff and volunteers. 

A huge thank you Tony Cox, one of our Advisers in Crawley who independently raised over £800 in sponsorship for us on the Chichester legal walk. This was a large proportion of the total raised of £1200. For taking part we will also receive £1100 from the Legal Services Support Trust who walked on our behalf and donated their sponsorship to Citizens Advice.

We take part in the Chichester Legal Walk every year. Friends and family are also welcome to take part including those of the canine variety! Watch this space for details of the 2016 event.

Macmillan Coffee Morning

The Macmillan team raised over £150 pounds at their Coffee Morning at the Town Hall in September. 

Carol singing at Haywards Heath Railway Station

Our volunteers in Haywards Heath spread some festive cheer to travellers recently.

They entertained the public during their annual singing of carols at Haywards Heath Railway Station.

Together they were in fine voice and raised £317!
Well done and a big thank you to everybody who took part!
Copyright © 2015 Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East), All rights reserved.

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