Today, I met up with Jane Bourgeois (Manager) and Alison Mein from the Elmbridge West branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau – based in Walton.
Jane and Alison talked me through some of their casework. We’ve seen an increase in housing, relationship breakdown, and consumer referrals to the CAB, and a reduction in the number of benefits and debt referrals. The referrals data is always an interesting insight into social issues in the borough. Of course, there are also human stories behind those numbers, and I was briefed on some of the very sad cases that come the CAB’s way.
Finally, I want to pay tribute to Jane Bourgeois, who after 27 years of working for the CAB is retiring as branch Manager next month (although she will remain involved in various ways). I have a soft spot for the CAB. I think they do a terrific job, and serve as an early warning radar for the local community, detecting social issues and helping people who have nowhere else to go. The team at Walton is first-rate, and Jane has provided truly outstanding leadership. Caring, wise and thoroughly dedicated, Jane has given incredible service to our community. She will be tough to replace.