Citizens Advice St Albans District

Citizens Advice St Albans District

At a glance


  • Campaigning
  • Children / families
  • Community safety / victim support / domestic violence
  • Counselling / advice
  • Financial inclusion
  • Health and well being / research and care
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Human rights
  • Learning disabilities / difficulties
  • Local / community
  • Mental health
  • Older people / later life
  • Physical disabilities
  • Poverty relief
  • Refugees / migrants
  • Social care

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 


As a local Citizens Advice office, we are an independent charity with our own accounts and board of trustees. We are, though, members of the National Association of Citizens Advice and this brings many benefits, including the opportunity to share experiences and to participate in training programmes designed specifically for Citizens Advice assessors and advisers.

We have two aims:

  • The first is to improve the lives of our clients by helping them to tackle their problems

We achieve this aim by providing advice that is free and independent on a wide range of issues, including benefits, employment, debt, housing and relationships, as well as consumer matters.

  • The second is to improve the lives of the wider community by eliminating the causes of

the problems that our clients face. We achieve this aim by researching selected issues in depth and using the experiences of our clients to back up campaigns for change in policies and procedures.


We provide face-to-face advice in the Civic Centre in St Albans on five mornings, four afternoons and one evening a week. People can drop in for an assessment session or for help with relatively simple problems; or they can book time with one of our advisers.
We also hold outreach sessions twice a week in Harpenden, weekly in Wheathampstead and fortnightly in London Coney and Redbourn; and we have a weekly clinic for specialist legal advice.

Subject to funding, we also offer specialist advice services for people with particular problems, such as homelessness; and for particular groups of people, such as those in fuel poverty. All our advisers and assessors have undertaken a rigorous programme of training lasting a year, during which they learn how to help people with a wide range of issues. All our advice sessions are overseen by an experienced supervisor, who is on hand to offer support. We also provide advice over the telephone and over the internet via webchat.

Many of our advisers are generalists, but we have specialist advisers dealing with, for example, debt issues, legal problems and benefit issues. This reflects our sources of income, which are a combination of core funding for our general advice service and
project funding for advice tailored to specific groups or designed to tackle particular problems.

We monitor trends in the problems facing our clients in order to identify suitable issues for our campaigning work. We investigate these issues and identify the organisations that could change policies or practices in order to reduce or eliminate them. We bring
our clients’ experiences to the notice of these organisations and lobby for change.

Many of our clients are at risk of social exclusion and disadvantage. Although St Albans is a relatively prosperous part of the country, it contains areas of relative deprivation and a disproportionate number of our clients come from these areas. Our clients are three times more likely to be below the UK low income threshold than the average person. A third of people using our service are long-term sick or disabled and almost one in ten disclose a mental health problem. A fifth of all the people we help are aged 60 and over.

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