Interested in the history of how the Citizens Advice Bureau came about? This page gives the background behind the beginning of the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the history of the Crowborough Citizens Advice Bureau.

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The charity was set up in 1994 and one of their first projects was to provide help towards moving the Crowborough office from Beaconwood, near the Community Centre, to Thorpe House in Croft Road, Crowborough in 1998. Again, some years later the Friends funded moving to the current location in Croham Lodge. Assistance was then given, along with that from other Organisations, in preparing and decorating the buildings ready for staff and volunteers. The move wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Friends.

The National Association of Citizens Advice required all member offices to enter the electronic age and store its vast amount of information on computer. The Friends helped provide computers and other electronic equipment, and this remains a continual investment when funds allow.

Since then the Friends have continued to support the Crowborough Office by funding additional items of office furniture and contribute to maintenance costs when there has been a shortfall in grants from our local council funding. We have also helped fund the employment of a part time Specialist Debt Advisor as well as extra Supervisor hours to enable the office to retain its four day opening hours.

Crowborough has had a Citizens Advice Office in the town since 1971. It started as a branch of Tunbridge Wells with Mr Ron Tubb and a group of local workers who already had experience from Tunbridge Wells forming a nucleus of advisors, with support from the local management committee under the leadership of Dr Duncan Watney.

The Crowborough branch achieved independence, and its own constitution, in 1978 when Crowborough Citizens Advice was set up. It was based at the Red Cross hall, where it remained for several years before moving first to Beaconwood in 1987, then Croft Road in 1998 and finally in 2013 to its current location in Croham Road.

The function of Citizens Advice then was basically the same as it is today. It is to help clients in any way necessary. For example by supplying information, helping them negotiate, complete application forms, writing letters or by referring them for specialist help.

All client records were initially hand written and kept in journals. The information system, which has always been the bedrock of advice, was paper based and consisted of a large number of files and books that were updated every month (a huge ongoing task!).

There was far less bureaucracy in the 70’s. Everything was much more hands on and it was far easier to contact the person in the Government Department that you needed to speak to for instant help.

Originally training was undertaken by visiting various Official Departments and backed up by some training materials supplied by Citizens Advice . We now have computerised records, our wonderful electronic information system which is updated daily by Citizens Advice in London, and extensive formal training./p>

The number of clients has increased from 122 in 1971 to over a thousand a year today.

All Citizens Advice offices are charities and do not receive direct funding from the Government. The Wealden offices are staffed mainly by trained volunteers and supported by paid managers and supervisors.