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 latest Impact Report explains more about the value we provided to the Elmbridge community in 2021.

Our History

Although the national Citizens Advice service is celebrating its 80th anniversary, 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 40 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 £430,000.

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 leading the organisation and deciding how it is run.

What does a Trustee do?

Our Trustees are volunteers who use their skills, knowledge and experience to help guide and govern our local office.  They work with the Chief Executive and other staff to shape strategy and give direction.  This includes making sure that the charity is:

  • Doing what is was set-up to do, such as offering high quality advice services to the local community.
  • Complying with the law, including upkeep of premies, insurance, recruitment and equipment.
  • Securing money to meet current and new demands, and that all funds are used responsibly.
  • Recognised and valued by local organisations, funders and people, who are aware of the vital service their local Citizens Advice provides.

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.  He qualified as a solicitor in 1977 and worked in the City specialising in intellectual property matters until 2020.  Ian joined the Board in January 2016 and has served as Chair since June 2016.

Sally Williams (Vice Chair)

Sally is a retired circuit judge with recent experience of family law and also experience of civil law and the jurisdiction of a district judge.   Before she was a judge she was a solicitor with a general litigation practice.  Having served as a Trustee of our charity for nine years during the 1990s, Sally re-joined the Board in May 2019.  She was appointed Vice Chair in November 2020.  She is a member of the Business Plan, Personnel and Publicity sub-committees.

Ian Rotsey (Treasurer)

Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is the Founder and CEO of Consolido Limited, a financial and business consultancy firm specialising in the SME market across various sectors.    He has experience in company management, accounting and auditing covering a wide range of industries in London and overseas.  Ian was co-opted to the Trustee Board in January 2020 and was appointed as Treasurer in April 2020. He is a member of the Business Plan, Fundraising and Personnel sub-committees.

Gill Coates

Gill is a public relations professional and has worked for, among others, ICI, The Landscape Institute and The Crown Estate, where she was Head of Communications for nine years.  Moving into consultancy, she then became a Director of Spada, a firm specialising in professional services PR.  She left in 2013 and now carries out a number of volunteer roles.   In the Elmbridge Borough Councils in May 2021 she was elected as Councillor for Hinchley Wood and Weston Green ward, representing Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents’ Association.

Gill was co-opted to the Trustee Board in March 2018 and is a member of the Publicty and Business Plan sub-committees.  

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. James joined Citizens Advice Esher & District as a fundraising volunteer in 2011 and was elected to the Board in 2013.  He is a member of the Fundraising sub-committee.

Paul Hickson

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 and served as Treasurer until April 2020.

Andrew Nichols

Andrew has worked within the IT sector for over 26 years, 22 years of which have involved supporting numerous organisations of different sizes and complexities spanning finance, engineering, energy, MoD and travel industries to help steer and deliver over £25m worth of transformational IT and business change. Andrew joined the board in June 2021.

Frank Thaxton

From a background in engineering, Frank has held various financial and management roles in both the private and public sector.  For the last 30 years he has been a self-employed consultant advising businesses and individuals on financial and legal issues.  In addition, he has provided business set-up and careers advice and written a number of books to help people find the right job. Frank was elected to the Trustee Board in October 2017 and is a member of the Business Plan and Personnel sub-committees.

Laura Young 

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 and Personnel sub-committees.

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