Making the most of your visit to a bureau
All of our bureaux offer a drop-in service at specific times. We have bureau at Altrincham, Partington, Sale, Stretford and Urmston. A 'drop-in' is when you can call in without an appointment for a short interview to get advice on the next step you need to take. Our trained and supervised volunteers staff these sessions.
Once you have had this short interview we might help you with some basic information or arrange a telephone callback to go through the problem in more detail. We might book you an appointment if the issue is a bit more complex or arrange for you to see a specialist adviser.
Opening times (excluding bank holidays)
The opening times of our bureau and the dates of our bureau drop-in sessions can be found by clicking each of the bureau links in this list: Altrincham, Partington, Sale, Stretford and Urmston.
The dates, locations and times of our outreach sessions can be found by clicking on the Advice Partnership link.
Before your visit
To make the most of your visit to a bureau it's helpful if you provide as much information as possible to the adviser when you come. This supports us in giving you the most relevant information and advice for your problem. We need to see any paperwork you have and be made aware of any urgent deadlines. Please take a look at what to bring when you visit us.
If you do not speak English, or are looking on here on behalf of somebody else who doesn't speak English, please bring someone with you to the interview who can translate. Unfortunately, we currently have very limited access to translation services. If English is not your first language,
self-help information in various languages is also available via Adviceguide.
If you use British Sign Language we will make every effort to access translation services as soon as we can.
When you arrive
When you visit our bureau you will be greeted by a volunteer receptionist who will welcome you to Citizens Advice Trafford, briefly explain our 'Gateway' system and ask you to complete a form. The form asks for details of your name and address and a short description of what you would like help with.
We also ask questions about your age, ethnic origin, household income etc. As an equalities organisation this information is really important to us because it helps us monitor who we are helping. It helps us target our services at people who aren't getting good advice. The information also helps us to show our funders that we help all of Trafford's communities, in different areas and from different backgrounds.
We always make sure that this information is anonymous and we will never allow it to identify any individuals - your confidentiality is protected at all times.
From time-to-time we also hold surveys while our clients are waiting for an adviser to help them. Completing these surveys helps us to show to government that changes are needed with law and regulation and contributes to our campaigning on behalf of our clients.
Initial 'Gateway' interview
Once our receptionists have taken your details, you will then get the opportunity to have a short 'Gateway Interview' with one of our volunteer advisers - we sometimes call these volunteers 'Gateway Assessors'. The idea behind this short interview is that it helps us to understand the nature of your problem and agree on what the next step should be. The next step could include:
After your initial 'Gateway Interview' we may have to arrange for you to see one of our volunteer 'Generalist Advisers'. This is when you will be able to discuss your problem in more detail. Your adviser will explain your options and the possible outcomes of the different options. This will then inform you in making a decision and confirming whether further guidance and support is needed.
This could be support to:
Unfortunately we only have a limited number of volunteer advisers on duty each day and may be unable to provide a full interview to everybody. If this happens we will do our very best to make an appointment which will be either face-to-face or via the telephone.
Appointments with our 'Specialist Caseworkers' in welfare benefits, debt and employment are available to our clients with complex problems. Access to our specialists depends on your circumstances and the requirements of our funders. In the first instance you should visit any of our bureaux or call our telephone adviceline to talk to an adviser.
Can we make an appointment for you?
Appointments can only be made after you have attended a drop-in session or called our telephone adviceline and had a short initial interview with a Gateway Assessor. This will help us to confirm how best we can help you.
Do we offer home visits?
Citizens Advice Trafford is not currently funded to offer a home visiting service and we suggest contacting our telephone adviceline where you will be able to discuss your problem with an adviser.