Surrey is an affluent area (one of the least deprived in the country) to the southwest of London with a population of over one million. It borders Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Kent and West Sussex. Within its affluence, however, there are areas of severe deprivation;
Furthermore, the affluence brings added problems. There is a heightened feeling of ‘social exclusion’ because of being surrounded by above average wealth and concealed within housing estates; there is a lack of good and relatively cheap public transport and cheaper supermarkets; and there is a shortage of affordable housing. Additionally, the proportion of older people in the population is above average and the non-white population is above the South East average. Welfare reform has had a significant impact on the poorest Surrey residents with rent arrears, threatened homelessness and benefit issues steeply on the rise.
The creation of a consortium recognised the need, in a changing funding environment, to increase our strength operationally and financially and to have a strong coherent voice. It enables us to more effectively support policy and strategy within Surrey and continue to improve our services for the benefit of our local communities. The consortium builds upon the strong relationships that already exist between Surrey Citizens Advice Managers, who through a Managers’ Forum, meet regularly to share information and provide mutual support.