Our history

Citizens Advice was set up in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War. Volunteer advisors, all over the country, helped with war time struggles such as homelessness, missing relatives, evacuation and lost ration books.

Citizens Advice was set up in 1939 at the outbreak of World War Two. Volunteer advisors from across the country came together to help with wartime struggles including: the loss of ration books, homelessness, evacuation and other social struggles.

Over the following decades, the need for Citizens Advice grew and it remained a crucial service as the country tackled housing issues, multiple recessions and changes to the benefit system. People were able to drop into their local town’s Citizens Advice Bureau to get the information and advice they needed.

By the early 2000s, Citizens Advice had launched its first 24 hour advice service with a new advice website and advice available in multiple languages.

In 2019, Citizens Advice celebrated its 80th Birthday with a record 29 million visits to our online advice website. Our service was then hit by the unprecedented challenges caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and continued to adapt to this ever-changing situation. We expanded our phone, webchat and digital advice services, reaching out to people of all age groups and supporting more people than ever before.

Advisers working from a converted horse box in 1942

Local History

In 1965, Braintree and District Citizens Advice Bureau first opened its doors, providing advice and information to people across the district. As demand for the service increased throughout decade, a mobile advice van was set up to visit Witham weekly in the early 1970’s. The popularity of this service lead to the official opening of the Witham Citizens Advice Bureau in Guithavon Street Methodist Church in 1975.

Having extended operations into Halstead, it was decided in 2005 to merge Braintree District and Witham to form one organisation covering the entirety of the Braintree District area. This led to the creation of the newly branded Citizens Advice Braintree Halstead & Witham.

The unique challenges presented in recent years have seen the service adapt in order to continue delivering its advice services across the district. In 2019 Citizens Advice Braintree Halstead & Witham streamlined its advice services, operating a phone-first system, with follow-up appointments provided as necessary. We have also developed specialist services such as money advice, warm homes and disability outreach to ensure that the advice needs of the local community are met.

What we do

Our volunteers and staff give high quality, independent, information and advice: over the phone; face to face or by email on a huge range of subjects.