CAB’s 75 years of independent advice

Published on: 02 Jun 2014

Volunteers and staff of the South Glos CAB team

HAVE you ever needed help to sort out your debts, claim benefits, or understand your employment rights? If so the chances are you have used the South Gloucestershire Citizens Advice Bureau, the local arm of a service celebrating a very big birthday this year, writes Ali Bacon.

It was 1939 when the first Citizens Advice Bureau opened in London, dealing with lost ration books, homelessness and evacuation.

“Seventy five years later the problems may have changed,” says South Glos CAB chief executive Christine Kenny, “but the service is more vital than ever. Our volunteers here in South Gloucestershire deal with around 4,500 clients and 9,500 problems each year in five offices (Yate, Staple Hill, Cadbury Heath, Thornbury and Bradley Stoke) and via our Adviceline telephone service. And changes in benefits, employment and consumer law mean the number of inquiries is on the rise from year to year.”

CABs provide advice which is free, independent, confidential and impartial, but not many people know that local bureaux receive no funding from central government.

“This means we are completely impartial and able to campaign on the real effects of government policy. But we rely on funding from local and parish councils, businesses and individuals to keep our service going,” says Christine.

On June 5, the local team will take a break to celebrate the CAB's achievements over the years. Workers and volunteers will hold a party in Yate shopping centre from 11am to 3pm where people can come along to find out more about the service, or just join in the fun.

Why not join them for a chat and a slice of birthday cake? Ration books not required!

Got a problem? For online help and bureau opening times, go to http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/

Telephone Adviceline: 08444 111 444 (Mon – Friday, 10am to 2pm)

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