Contact us

There are lots of ways to contact us if you can’t find the advice you need on this website.

Find your nearest Citizens Advice

Enter your postcode or town to get contact details for your nearest Citizens Advice.

Most local Citizens Advice can only help you if you live or work in their area.

Call our national phone line

You can contact an adviser through our national phone service, Adviceline:

Adviceline: 03444 111 444

Text relay: 03444 111 445

Adviceline’s available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. It’s usually busiest at the beginning and end of the day. It’s not available on public holidays.

If you call from a mobile, we’ll ask you to enter a local landline number on your keypad. This can be any number – we only use it to send your call to a local adviser if one’s available.

There are a few parts of England we don’t cover yet. If you’re in one of these areas, we’ll give you other options when you call.

We’ll answer as soon as we can – at busy times you might need to wait up to an hour. If the wait is long, we’ll tell you about other ways to get advice. You can also try calling again later.

Calls to Adviceline cost the same as calls to landline numbers. See more about our call charges.

Talk to us online

Chat lets you talk to a trained adviser online. You can:

  • talk to us about a debt problem – we can usually help between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday

  • talk to us about any other kind of problem – we can usually help between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday

Get help if you’re applying for Universal Credit

You can contact our Help to Claim service for help with the claiming process – from making an application to getting your first payment.

Get help with a consumer issue

You can contact our consumer service if you have a consumer issue like broken or faulty goods, or problems with energy, water or post.

The consumer service can advise you and pass complaints to Trading Standards.

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You can make a complaint about our advice or how you’ve been treated when you contacted us or visited your local Citizens Advice.

Read our privacy policy

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Links to organisations giving advice on benefits, care and debt

Disability Rights UK are not currently taking any new link requests

advice northern ireland
(formerly association of independent advice centres) Northern Irish site with information regarding social welfare and legal matters.

advicelocal
The site offers access to welfare law, housing, debt and social care topics and includes a searchable database.

advicenow
Information on the law and your rights from a wide range of advice and information services. Publishes useful guides.

adviceuk
Support network for free, independent advice centres. Formerly Federation of Independent Advice Centres (FIAC).

advice services alliance
Gives an overview of the whole range of alternative dispute resolution options. Aimed at legal advisers, advice agencies, solicitors, judges, and also to the general public.

benefitsandwork.co.uk
Has guides on benefits, law and work issues but you have to pay a subscription to get hold of most of them. Also offers training.

carers uk
Has a helpline for carers.

child poverty action group
Provides information on CPAG campaigns, publications and training.

citizens advice
Home site for National Association of Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

counselling directory
From this site you can find a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with Debt Management.

debt advice foundation
Debt Advice Foundation is a registered national debt advice charity offering free, impartial support and advice to anyone worried about debt.

disabilities forum
Gives advice, assistance and representation in matters concerning Housing, Benefits, Employment, Education, Training, Equipment Grants, Travel and Leisure.

disability law service (dls)
DLS provides advice and information on these six areas of law – Disability Discrimination, Consumer, Community Care, Further and Higher Education, Employment and Welfare Benefits (Greater London Area only).

elderly accommodation counsel
A national charity that aims to help older people make informed choices about meeting their housing and care needs.

firststop
An independent, free service providing information and advice about care and housing for older people and their carers.

gov.uk/benefits-adviser
This website now hosts independent benefits calculators.

independent age
Independent Age offers an advice service, open to all older people, their families and carers, which offers information and support about social care issues and welfare benefits. Also, a network of volunteers throughout the UK visit older people in their own homes. These volunteers have the backup of a casework team for anybody needing extra support with care or money issues.

lasa
The home site of Lasa offering details of the services they provide across the UK. These include welfare benefits resources, technology advice and training, and policy work.

lisson grove
Primarily sells benefits calculation programs but also has basic online information.

money advice service
The Money Advice Service is a not for profit government organisation created solely to help people with their finances.
It has an online financial health checker as well an article on disability benefits you can claim

the national careline
A not for profit company offering information about care and support for older people, their carers and their families.

national debtline
Helpline which provides free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems.

newcastle welfare rights service
Has benefit and debt information and news. You can also sign up for a ‘benefit bulletin’ email on important benefit issues and news.

offenders families helpline
Help for families on all aspects of the criminal justice system in England and Wales from arrest through to release.

payplan
Provides free debt advice, debt management plans and Individual Voluntary Arrangements.

quickcalc
Online calculation tools for tax credits, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, council tax benefit and tax. There is a subscription fee but you can use their 30 day trial for free.

rightsnet
Provides access to all for information, discussion forums, news and law updates in relation to all aspects of benefits.

shelter
Provides help if you are struggling with unmanageable debt, rent or mortgage arrears.

turn2us
Turn2us exists to help people access the funds they need that are available to them – through benefits, grants and other financial help. They have an online advice centre finder.

What Makes Plants Grow: Plant Growing Needs

Plants are everywhere around us, but how do plants grow and what makes plants grow? There are many things plants need to grow such as water, nutrients, air, water, light, temperature, space, and time.

What Plants Need to Grow

Let’s take a look at the most important factors for growing healthy plants.

Water and Nutrients

Like humans and animals, plants need both water and nutrients (food) to survive. Most all plants use water to carry moisture and nutrients back and forth between the roots and leaves. Water, as well as nutrients, is normally taken up through the roots from the soil. This is why it’s important to water plants when the soil becomes dry.

Fertilizer also provides plants with nutrients and is usually given to plants when watering. The most important nutrients for plants growing needs are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen is necessary for making green leaves, phosphorus is needed for making big flowers and strong roots, and potassium helps the plants fight off disease.

Too little or too much water or nutrients can also be harmful.

Air and Soil

What helps plants grow besides water and nutrients? Fresh, clean air and healthy soil. Dirty air caused by smoke, gases, and other pollutants can be harmful to plants, limiting their ability to take in carbon dioxide from the air for making food (photosynthesis). It can also block out sunlight, which is also necessary for healthy plant growth.

Healthy soil is extremely vital to plants. In addition to essential nutrients found in soil (from organic matter and micro-organisms), soil provides an anchor for plant roots and helps support the plants.

Light and Temperature

Plants also need sunlight to grow. Light is used as energy for making food, a process called photosynthesis. Too little light can make plants weak and leggy looking. They will also have fewer flowers and fruits.

Temperature is important too. Most plants prefer cooler nighttime temps and warmer daytime temperatures. Too hot and they may burn, too cold and they will freeze.

Space and Time

Space is yet another factor to consider when growing plants. Both the roots and foliage (leaves) need room to grow. Without enough room, plants can become stunted or too small. Overcrowded plants are also more likely to suffer from diseases since airflow may be limited.

Finally, plants require time. They do not grow overnight. It takes time and patience to grow plants, some more so than others. Most plants require a particular number of days, months, or even years to produce flowers and fruit.

GARDENERS TEND toward optimism, a helpful trait when dealing with insects, diseases, wind and weather, plenty of hard, dirty work, plus snails, slugs and deer. And that’s the short list, as we all know after a summer more bone-dry than we ever thought possible.

I was reminded of this cheerful, beat-all-odds attitude when I recently asked several skilled gardeners which plants they’re pleased with, and which have been downright disappointments. Being optimists, their lists of the former were much longer than their lists of the latter. Still, it’s reassuring to know you’re not the only one who spent time and money on plants that weren’t worth it. Let alone gave up precious garden space to malingerers, weedy species, or just plain duds.

It’s no surprise that The Seattle Times gardening columnist Ciscoe Morris praised even the plants he’s banished from his garden. “Persicaria napelensis is a beautiful perennial, but it seeds so aggressively, it had to go,” he says. Then there’s Anemone hybrida, which drives him crazy because it’s impossible to eradicate. And when it comes to clumping bamboo, Ciscoe issues a warning: “They’re like people, they get wider as they get older, and there’s little you can do to prevent it. Slowly but surely they invade the space of highly valued neighbor plants.” He calls the bamboo’s rhizomes “practically indestructible.”

Edible expert Bill Thorness came up with only two food plants he’s thrown overboard. One is Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes. He’d put up with the space such a large and sprawling plant takes up if eating them didn’t upset his stomach, no matter how many ways he’s tried cooking them. And then there’s cilantro. “I’m one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap,” says Thorness, who even has an aversion to its smell.

Amy Pennington, cook, gardener and author of several books, is no longer willing to wait three months for a head of broccoli to develop, and she feels the same about cauliflower. She doesn’t consider either to be worth the prime gardening space they take up, plus they attract aphids and cabbage moths.

“You can fill the same space with two tomato plants that will produce 20 pounds of fruit or more. We encourage clients to buy broccoli and cauliflower at the farmers market,” says Pennington. And she grows pole and bush beans rather than favas, which take longer to produce, and require so much time and work to prepare.

Greg Graves of Old Goat Farm says he’d never again give garden room to an astrantia of any type, or to our native bleeding heart Dicentra formosa. “Both were in the garden when we moved here, and I’ve been trying to get rid of them ever since,” he explains.

It’s true that the perennial astrantia roams around the garden too freely, but the ruby colored A. major ‘Hadspen Blood’ is so long-lasting and beautiful in flower arrangements that I put up with its roaming ways.

I couldn’t agree with Ciscoe more about clumping bamboo. I grow Fargesia robusta and realize how the species name is a warning I should not have ignored. I’m also disenchanted with day lilies that need endless deadheading and yearly dividing, and tired of being stabbed by the wickedly long and sharp thorns on the gorgeous Rosa ‘Westerland’. Talk about a mixed message of a plant.

All the gardeners I spoke with raved about far more plants than they dissed, and “Plants That Please” is the topic of next Sunday’s Natural Gardener column.

Is January too late to plant a cover crop? Ask an expert

Chief Joseph pine. OSU Extension Service

Hopes for a successful replant of small pine may be in vain

Q: I am moving and want to take my 4-foot-tall ‘Chief Joseph’ pine that has been in the ground about five years. I had a landscaper dig it up, but it did not hold onto a root ball and all the roots were exposed. We immediately put it in a large black plastic pot and watered thoroughly. I’ve read different things about to use or not use a rooting hormone or solution to lessen the shock. Would like your advice and if there is anything I should do besides wait it out? – Multnomah County

A: A root ball that with only the crown roots will have little chance of success, as there are very few feeder roots to re-establish the tree. You do not say when you transplanted this tree. It should have been done during the dormant season. Make sure you have plenty of room in your pot for the tree roots as it waits for its new home. Rooting hormones will probably not be very useful at this time. Make sure you give your tree adequate water, but not too much. Here is a publication on replanting your tree into a new spot. This is another. – Chris Rusch, OSU Extension Master Gardener

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