Citizens Advice Cornwall is an independent charity and member of the national Citizens Advice Service.
The organisation exists to offer free, independent and confidential advice to everyone to help solve their problems and improve their lives – from consumer issues to problems at work and from benefit applications to debt relief and homelessness – we’re here to help everyone regardless of race, class, religion, politics or sexual identity.
Working with a team of more than a hundred dedicated, passionate and highly trained staff and volunteers, CA has nine offices across the county and outreach centres from Bude to St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly. We’re also in various Job Centres and Cornwall Council Family Hubs across the county.
As an organisation, we value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. In addition to advice, we also lobby and campaign for changes to policies and practices that impact on people’s lives, bringing concerns to the attention of local and national government and businesses.
In 2019/20 we were contacted by 9,500 clients. As part of our advice and guidance we helped people in Cornwall gain £5.7 million in income and write off £5.6 million of unmanageable debt.
Citizens Advice Bureaux (as it was then known) began in 1935, but it was in 1938, when war was looming, that the role was focussed on meeting the needs of the civilian population in wartime.
The day after war was declared, on 3 September 1939, the first 200 bureaux were opened across the country; this number increased to over 1,000 by 1942. Common issues included loss of ration books, homelessness and evacuations, missing relatives and prisoners of war.
After the war, funding was cut and the number of bureaux halved. The bureaux in Cornwall were closed at this time. The service continued thanks to charitable trusts and in 1972 the first Cornwall bureaux was re-established. The service eventually grew to six independent CAB charities. In 2009, those six independent charities merged to form Citizens Advice Cornwall.
Today, the Citizens Advice service operates from more than 3,400 community locations across England and Wales, run by 360 registered charities, of which CA Cornwall is but one. Each local charity is a member of the wider network. The national office in London provides training, IT and operational support and campaigns nationally on important issues.
Citizens Advice Cornwall produces a quarterly newsletter called Citizens. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to find out more about the latest developments and research campaigns run by Citizens Advice, please email Wailim.
Copies of Citizens can be found by clicking on the link below: