History of Citizens Advice Bureau to be charted through museum exhibition

PUBLISHED: 18:25 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:10 28 March 2019

Citizens Advice chief officer Fiona Cope with staff and volunteers outside the former 1 in 4 People building.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Citizens Advice chief officer Fiona Cope with staff and volunteers outside the former 1 in 4 People building. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

As starts go, a bombing raid is about as inauspicious a beginning as anyone could fear.

Citizens Advice chief officer Fiona Cope with staff and volunteers outside the former 1 in 4 People building.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONCitizens Advice chief officer Fiona Cope with staff and volunteers outside the former 1 in 4 People building. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

But, 80 years on, Weston’s Citizens Advice service continues to go from strength to strength.

It is raising funds to pay for a move to new premises and has this month received a financial boost to help bring its long-running story to life.

Like many around the country, Weston’s first service for the people was created with Britain on the cusp of World War II in 1939. Although war was declared in September, few areas experienced its real effects until much later. In total, 200 locations around the country were set up to help people cope. Today, it helps thousands of people every year with money, health, housing and other worries.

A Citizens Advice North Somerset (CANS) spokesman said: “These services gave advice to whoever needed it on a range of issues including evacuation, what to do if they’d lost their home and how to get a new ration book. Weston’s bureau opened at the end of the year, and it has survived a bombing raid, several changes of premises and many other challenges and is proud to still be helping the people of Weston and the wider area of North Somerset some 80 years on.”

Citizens Advice chief officer Fiona Cope with staff and volunteers outside the former 1 in 4 People building.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONCitizens Advice chief officer Fiona Cope with staff and volunteers outside the former 1 in 4 People building. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The story of its work will be displayed to visitors to Weston Museum going forward.

The CANS spokesman added: “We have received a National Lottery grant of £4,400 for an exciting heritage project to find and save the history of Citizens Advice by bringing together the memories of the people of Weston who have helped or been helped by Citizens Advice and objects and photographs which represent our history, and contribute to the cultural heritage of Weston and our place within it.

“The project will culminate in an exhibition at Weston Museum.”

CANS is looking for people to share their stories to boost the project.

The organisation moved from the Badger Centre into Wadham Street in 2016, but it soon will be changing locations again.

It plans to buy 39 Oxford Street – the former home of 1in4 People – and is trying to raise £250,000 to refurbish the premises.

People can share their memories by emailing 80years@nscab.org.uk, calling 01934 836213 or emailing www.citizensadvice.org.uk/yourstory

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