About Esher Citizens Advice

About Us

We provide free, confidential and impartial advice and campaign about big issues affecting people’s lives. People come to us with all sorts of issues. You may have money, benefit, housing or employment problems. You may be facing a crisis, or just considering your options. If you live or work in Elmbridge, our goal is to help you find a way forward, whatever problem you face. We’re an independent charity and part of the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales.

Our History

Although the national Citizens Advice service is over 75 years old, our local centre has been advising the residents and workers of Elmbridge since May 1973.

Initially called the ‘Esher & Molesey Citizens Advice Bureau’, we were first located in Old Church Path, Esher. After a brief time at Dawes Court in Esher High Street we moved into our current premises, Harry Fletcher House near the Civic Centre in 1994 and changed our name to ‘Esher & District’ the following year.

Over the years our information and case recording systems have moved from paper and books to online. At the same time, the problems people face have become more complex and time-consuming. Our staff have undergone intensive training and acquired new skills to adapt to these changes and improve the service to clients.

Today we have a small paid team and over 50 volunteers working as either highly-trained advisers, support staff or Trustees. The market rate for the hours these skilled volunteers donate each year is an incredible £275,000.

Long may we continue to provide our vital service to the local community.

Our Trustee Board

All local Citizens Advice are independent charities with their own board of trustees. The trustees are responsible for the governance of the charity and setting an overall vision.

Their duties include:  

  • holding staff accountable, and being ultimately accountable for the activities of the charity
  • providing leadership to all in the charity
  • developing policy
  • strategic management
  • ensuring that the charity complies with relevant laws.

Our current trustees:

 

Ian Wood (Chair)

After graduating with a BSc degree in physics, and also obtaining an MSc degree in High Energy Nuclear Physics, Ian studied law.  Since then he has worked in the City, qualifying as a solicitor in 1977 and specialising in intellectual property matters.  He is currently Head of Intellectual Property at Charles Russell Speechlys.

Lan joined the Board in January 2016 and has served as Chair since June 2016.

Laura Young (Vice Chair)

Laura is a seasoned business leader with over 22 years of international experience covering Europe, China, Asia Pacific and the globe with the Royal Dutch Shell Company.  She has over 10 years experience as a General Manager accountable for $2+ billion revenue businesses with significant operational and HSSE exposure, leading large teams (300+ staff) across broad geographies.

She is a graduate of Cambridge University and was previously a director of two joint venture companies.

Laura has served on the Trustee Board since January 2014 and is a member of our Business Plan sub-committee.

Paul Hickson (Treasurer)

Paul qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1976 and gained experience with Coopers & Lybrand before starting his own practice in Claygate in 1980. In 1988 he merged the practice with Menzies LLP and became a general practice partner and was responsible for the Firm’s Accounting service line and prior to retirement in 2014 its Corporate Social Responsibility.

Paul has been a member of Rotary International since 1994 and is an Assistant Governor responsible for ten Rotary clubs in the boroughs of Kingston, Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne.

Paul was elected to the Trustee Board in May 2016.

Carol Christofi

Carol qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and has specialised in the practice of Family Law ever since.  In 2000 she joined Crisp & Co and become a partner in the firm in 2003.  Carol has a private client practice dealing with all aspects of divorce and separation. She also deals with the preparation of Pre-nuptial and Co-habitation Agreements for her clients.  As a member of Resolution, she is trained and highly experienced in the practice of Collaborative Law.

Carol has a long association with Citizens Advice Esher& District, having run Crisp & Co’s monthly Family Law Clinic for our clients for some years.  She has also provided training sessions for advisers. Carol joined the Trustee Board in January 2015 and serves on our Personnel sub-committee.

James Drury

James has worked in the corporate and SME side of the commercial office fit-out and refurbishment market for over 20 years, primarily on the marketing and sales side, and now operates on freelance basis in this area. He has a keen interest in the community and enjoys putting his skills to use in the voluntary sector, with particular interest in fundraising and social policy.

He joined Citizens Advice Esher as a fundraising volunteer in 2011 and was elected to the Board in 2013.

Lionel Gordon

Lionel has a degree in Economics and Politics.  He worked at The Economist Intelligence Unit in London and New York before setting up his own market research agency in 1969, from which he retired in 1994.  He was Chairman of the Jewish Chronicle from 1994 to 2001.  He was a valued and experienced adviser at Esher CAB from 1995 to 2007.

Lionel joined our Board in June 2008 and served as Chair from 2012-2016.

Howard Springett

After taking early retirement from Shell, Howard first joined Citizens Advice Esher & District in January 1995 and has served continuously since then as an adviser, volunteer rep. to the trustee board, Chair of the trustees, trustee and specialist mortgage clinic adviser. Howard also worked for Kingston Citizens Advice for 13 years as Court Co-ordinator, helping clients at Kingston County Court.

Cllr James Browne

Councillor Browne is a nominated member of our Board from Elmbridge Borough Council. He is a Conservative councillor for Cobham Fairmile Ward.

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