Coronavirus support for professionals
How Citizens Advice can help
Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) gives advice and information to people for the problems they are facing. Our advice is free, confidential, independent and impartial.
At the moment we are not offering our usual drop-in service due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but limited face to face appointments are available. We are providing support to people via email, web chat and telephone.
If you are working with a member of the public who needs support from us, you can refer them to us directly by completing the referral form below. This particularly applies for those who are vulnerable and/or isolated. Please give as much information as possible so we can determine how best to help your client, and to prioritise appropriately.
You’ll also find links and general resources which may be useful for you to help your client directly.
Information and resources for professionals and organisations in West Sussex, who are working with the general public.
Refer your client to us
Please use this form to let us know about the person you wish to refer to us. We will be prioritising clients depending on vulnerability and emergency level.
If your client lives in the Arun and Chichester area, please do not complete our form. Please instead refer to our partners Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester – click here for their referral form.
In order to process the referral, the client’s details will be added to our national online database system.
Please complete every field and give us as much information as possible to help us prioritise appropriately.
We will contact the client directly and we aim to do this within 48 hours, Monday to Friday, depending on vulnerability. If we are unable to make contact with the client, we will let you know.
If you would like to set up a referral agreement between your organisation and Citizens Advice, please contact us via the General Enquiries form.
We aim to respond within 48 hrs but at busy times it may be longer.
Please complete every field.
Referral form (please complete every field)
Extra resources for professionals (Under development)
To enable you to help your client, you may find these links useful.
Breathing Space: information for professionals
Breathing Space is a new scheme which began on May 4th 2021. It gives people temporary protection from most types of debt collection while they take action to get on top of their debts.
People can apply for sixty days’ Breathing Space through a debt advisor. They must continue to engage with their debt advisor and not take out any new borrowing of more than £500 during this time. They’ll also have to continue to make certain types of payments, including ongoing housing costs, utility bills, and taxes.
Interest and fees will be paused on debts included in Breathing Space while these conditions are met.
People can only apply for Breathing Space once in a 12-month period.
Here we answer some specific questions you may have about how Breathing Space may affect someone you’re working with. We will add more as we have it.
How will it affect Council Tax?
Breathing Space cannot cover ongoing payments of Council Tax, if someone is not in arrears. Any portion of the Council Tax in arrears can be included in a Breathing Space application (but only the arrears portion).
If someone has received a reminder notice, Breathing Space will cover the unpaid instalments and the bill for the rest of the year. This is the same for business rates for sole traders.
How will it affect parking fines?
Parking tickets will be qualifying debts for Breathing Space. When a Breathing Space is approved, the creditors will not be able to take further action to enforce until the end of the Breathing Space.
Breathing Space does not apply to any driving related penalty issued by a Magistrates Court or for parking on a Red Route.
Information for Mental Health practitioners
If you are supporting someone experiencing a Mental Health Crisis, you can assist them to apply for a Mental Health Breathing Space. We at Citizens Advice cannot apply for these. There is a central unit for you to refer your client, and you should have been notified about this.
If your client is not experiencing a Mental Health Crisis, they can be advised to contact us in the usual way for full debt advice. This includes whether a Standard Breathing Space would be beneficial to their situation.
Crawley Communities Money Advice
In Summer 2020, we researched the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people from a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic background in Crawley. The research found that the pandemic has had a worse effect on people from these backgrounds, including a negative impact on people’s financial situation.
We are offering advice and information to people from diverse backgrounds in Crawley, who are worried about money and debt.
If you would like to refer someone you are working with to our caseworker, please select ‘yes’ on the form above.
Crawley Connects offers quality specialist advice service to migrant communities in Crawley on immigration, domestic abuse, benefits and more.
It is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and delivered by a small partnership of not-for-profit organisations, including Safe in Sussex, for practical support.
If you would like to refer someone you are working with to this service, please tick ‘yes’ on the form above.
Local Community Hubs and support for extremely vulnerable people
Domestic abuse - getting help
27,648 people helped in 2020/2021 and 85% felt the service they received helped them find a way forward