Citizens Advice in Buckinghamshire has marked 80 years of providing free, independent confidential and impartial advice to those in need by hosting a birthday party for local stakeholders, councillors, officers, staff and volunteers at The Gateway in Aylesbury on November 25th. Citizens Advice was founded the day after World War II was declared with its services then initially focussed on rationing, homelessness and evacuation, finances with the earner away and locating missing relatives, as well as how to keep poultry!!

Since then, Citizens Advice has become a trusted household name providing advice on a wide range of issues such as debt, benefits, housing, family breakdown, employment – all areas where our advice improves peoples’ lives and wellbeing.  Last year Citizens Advice helped 2.7 million people across England and Wales in person, by phone, email or web chat.

Despite Buckinghamshire being a relatively affluent county with low unemployment there are many areas of poverty and deprivation. It is estimated by Citizens Advice that there are 37,000 households in the county living in poverty. Last year, across Buckinghamshire, Citizens Advice helped almost 14,000 residents, giving them the knowledge and the confidence, to find their way forward – whoever they are and whatever their problems.

In his presentation to a large audience William Sprigge, Chair of Citizens Advice in High Wycombe, said:

“Citizens Advice is celebrating #80 years of advice with this event in Buckinghamshire.

This anniversary brought together all the Citizens Advice Bureaux in Bucks to highlight the impact of our work on local residents and enabled us to thank all staff and volunteers, without whom we would not be able to provide a service.

We have found in Bucks that our clients’ cases are becoming increasingly complex following years of austerity and many people come to us with several inter-related issues that need to be resolved.  Our advice changes lives because we are constantly adapting to the challenges people face, from broadband bills to Universal Credit.

We are here for everyone and we will continue to help make things better. Whatever the problem, our amazing staff and volunteers do all they can to help people find their way forward. Last year, for every £1 invested in Citizens Advice in Bucks, the advice they provided delivered £17.56 in financial value to the people we help, £3.71 in savings to the government and public services and £25.23 in wider social and economic benefits.”

Also speaking at the event was a senior member of the National Citizens Advice team, Catherine Grinstead, who shared the vision for The Future of Advice across the country and Kristle Barker, Chair of Citizen Advice in Chiltern District, who demonstrated how Citizens Advice are a key partner for the future Buckinghamshire Council.

The newly appointed Deputy Chief Executive of the future Bucks Council, Sarah Ashmead, cut the 80th Birthday Cake and gave thanks for the wonderful work of all the staff and volunteers in Citizens Advice in supporting citizens in need across Bucks.