The Wokingham Paper

CITIZENS ADVICE: Why we need funding and how you can help us

citizens advice
The Princess Royal visits Wokingham Citizens Advice on Friday, September 27, to help celebrate the organisation's 80th birthday

Citizens Advice is here for everyone and we help with a wide range of issues. We operate from our offices in Wokingham Town Centre five days per week, and Woodley three days per week.

Our service exists to help people unravel their problems and figure out a way forward, through high-quality advice and information specific to their circumstances. We also use this experience to campaign for change, to avoid people experiencing injustice or pitfalls. 

Over the last 12 months, we have significantly raised our profile across Wokingham borough, and this has translated into the number of people we help.

Over the last six months, we have helped more than 150 more people than we did in the same period the year before. 

This is thanks to our wonderful volunteers and small dedicated staff team. We employ 10 people, with one full-time Operations Manager and most staff working two days per week. We have built our volunteer numbers up this year, totalling 73 at the moment.

As a charity, we are dependant upon fundraising to achieve our ambition to provide help and support to anyone across Wokingham who needs us. This includes ensuring we are out and about across all 17 town and parish council areas.

We are really grateful to our funders – mainly Wokingham Borough Council, 16 town and parish councils, Berkshire Community Foundation, Citizens Advice and Wokingham United Charities. We are also often supported by local lions and rotary clubs. 

With more funds, we can do much more. Any charity will tell you that unrestricted funds are like gold dust to us! This allows us to consider the wider scope of the charity, rather than be ring-fenced for a particular area of work. 

Take for example our employment adviser project. We currently have three volunteers working on this, who, over the last 12 months, have secured outcomes of over £200,000 for clients. This is a project over and beyond our core advice service. 

Unrestricted funds enable us to do more work like this, on a particular area of advice. 

In Wokingham relationships and family problems are in the top five issues we see. Supporting people at a vulnerable point in their lives, figuring out a way forward with all of the complexities that family life brings.

We also sometimes have small projects working with clients with mental health problems, carers or house-bound people. All with thanks to local funders.

As we aim to kickstart our fundraising efforts for 2020, we ask that you consider working with us. Contact admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk or call 0118 978 7258 and ask for Jasmine. 

If you are a local business that is looking for a charity of the year, let’s meet and see how we can better support people in the area.

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