Museum launches Citizens Advice exhibition as they celebrate 80th birthday

Jean Hook with Chief officer of CANS, Fiona Cope

Jean Hook with Chief officer of CANS, Fiona Cope - Credit: Archant

A party was held at Weston’s museum as a nationwide charity marked its 80th birthday.

People gathered at the museum to learn the history of CANS in Weston

People gathered at the museum to learn the history of CANS in Weston - Credit: Archant

The celebration held at the museum, in Burlington Street, also saw the launch of the exhibition which looked at the eight decades of Citizens Advice North Somerset (CANS).

The charity was introduced three days after the start of World War Two to help individuals cope with the impacts of war such as debt, rationing and losing their homes during the Blitz.

The branch, which is temporarily based in the Sovereign Shopping Centre, continues to offer free and impartial advice on issues ranging from immigration, debt, benefits and housing.

Their continued service reaches more than 76,000 people who access advice online and roughly 92,000 people who seek face to face advice in their drop-in centres.

The timeline of CANS from 1939 to now

The timeline of CANS from 1939 to now - Credit: Archant


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Fiona Cope, chief officer of CANS, said the service is vital as people do not know how vital the service is until their time of need.

She said: "It's about being there when people need us.

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"Some of the problems we're faced with now we're in the town centre, is we're seeing more people are coming in because they are feeling isolated.

"We are getting the impression people go to places like the shopping centre when they're alone to fight isolation.

Exhibition of Citizens Advice in Weston museum

Exhibition of Citizens Advice in Weston museum - Credit: Archant

"We are a local charity and the more funding we can get, the more people we can help."

When the charity was first opened, they were based in Oxford Street, but following bombings from a German aircraft in 1942, they were forced to relocate.

However, 80 years later, the charity will be moving back to its original street as it has bought a new office block.

Fiona said: "We are now looking to move back to our original building, in Oxford Street, after years of moving from building to building, we have finally got somewhere to call home.

People attended to celebrate 80 years if Citizens Advice

People attended to celebrate 80 years if Citizens Advice - Credit: Archant

"We are grateful for all the places that have taken us in, in our time of need.

"Work still needs to the building before we can move and this means we have to raise £250,000 to renovate the new space into a welcoming place for people.

"But we're not sure how long this will take.

"We would also like to thank everyone that has helped us especially our volunteers and everyone else who has helped us."

Jean Hook, who has been volunteering with CANS for over 20 years, cutting the ribbon for the exhibit

Jean Hook, who has been volunteering with CANS for over 20 years, cutting the ribbon for the exhibition - Credit: Archant

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