Fringe Box



Citizens Advice Bureau’s Home Visits Make A Difference In Ash

Published on: 9 Feb, 2015
Updated on: 13 Feb, 2015

Housebound residents in Ash who are unable to get to their local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or those facing eviction are benefitting from a service in which an advisor makes a home visit to them.

Ash CAB is helping a range of people, struggling with problems such as debt worries or benefits claims. In some instances it might be a carer of someone who can’t be left alone for a period of time or someone who is at risk. All age groups can be affected.

Ash CAB's

Ash CAB’s independent living advisor Sally De-Merist, makes home visits to advise those in need. She also gives specialist advice as part of the bureau’s homelessness prevention service.

Sally De-Merist is Ash CAB’s independent living advisor who makes home visits to advise those in need. She also gives specialist advice as part of the bureau’s homelessness prevention service.

She said: “I usually have some details about the type of advice a client needs before I visit them. Seeing people in their homes often helps, as I can see the situation they are living in. Some feel more relaxed in their own space, which helps them to talk about the issues they are facing.”

Often the client’s issue will need a good deal of work before it can be resolved, so Sally gets any relevant paperwork together to take back to the office.

A couple who are aged in their thirties with a large family and living in council accommodation requested a home visit. Two members of the family have health problems.

The family had been hit by a cap on benefits paid to them and were experiencing a shortfall of £130 per week on their rent. The father had given up work to look after the children due to his wife’s deteriorating health. Her claim for disability living allowance had been refused.

Ash CAB helped with the preparation of an appeal on behalf of the family and an advisor attended a tribunal with a member of the family. The appeal was upheld and the award backdated. The husband can now claim carer’s allowance backdated to the same date. The benefit cap no longer applies, so the family is now entitled to full housing benefit and can continue to live in their home. Benefits gained totaled £17,000.

Sally and fellow advisor Allison Redit both help clients who face eviction from their homes. They advise clients on how they can maximize their incomes, making them aware of entitlements they can claim, and helping them to solve their debt problems. If clients are unemployed, help is also given about getting back into work.

CAB 1Sally said: “Some people are not aware of what benefits they are entitled to, while older people often feel pride and are hesitant about claiming benefits that they are fully entitled to. We help explain all this to them.

“It is a shame that people leave important issues to the last minute. It’s when they come to a point where there seems like there is no other way out.

“We liaise closely with staff at Guildford Borough Council when we are helping clients with rent arrears. Letting the council staff know that we are working with a client often means they will allow more time for the issue to be resolved.”

Another client that Ash CAB has helped had rent and council tax arrears. It was discovered that she had very little money and no food in her house and that her fridge was not working.

Initially referred to Ash CAB by Guildford Family Support, the bureau gave her a food parcel and made an application to the local assistance scheme for a re-conditioned fridge that was soon delivered.

A benefit check revealed that the woman should have been receiving an additional £3,015 a year in child tax credit, but she had failed to inform the Department of Work and Pensions that her son was disabled.

Ash CAB continues to work with her over other debts that are not a high priority. The good news is, the woman has told her CAB advisor that she is much less stressed now and is very grateful for the help she is receiving.

Ash CAB is based at the Ash Centre.

Ash CAB is based at the Ash Centre, Ash Hill Road.

Advisors Sally and Allison are staff members, but both started at Ash CAB as volunteers. In fact, Allison had used the services of the bureau herself and wanted to put something back after the help she received.

Sally said: “As a team we work well together and we love the work we do helping people.”

Ash CAB’s independent living advice service is being funded for 2015-16 by Guildford Borough Council’s Voluntary Grants Panel.

Ash CAB, Ash Hill Road, Ash GU12 5DP (at the rear of the Ash Centre), offers drop-in sessions, Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 1pm; appointments, Monday to Thursday, 1.30pm and 2.45pm; and a telephone advice service on Fridays between 10am and 1pm.

Telephone: 01252 315569.


Share This Post

Responses to Citizens Advice Bureau’s Home Visits Make A Difference In Ash

  1. Sue Fox Reply

    February 12, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Well done Ash CAB.

    I noticed on Monday that Guildford CAB are making themselves available at my doctor’s surgery on Stoughton Road.

    [Ed: story about this has been published on the Guildford Dragon NEWS.
    Information just received is that the CAB will be at the Stoughton Road surgery on Thursdays from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.]

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *