‘We are here for everyone’ - CAB celebrates 80th birthday in Lancaster and Morecambe

Helen Greatorex with her team of volunteers at Morecambe's Citizens Advice Bureau as it celebrates 80 years.  Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Helen Greatorex with her team of volunteers at Morecambe's Citizens Advice Bureau as it celebrates 80 years. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Citizens Advice is marking 80 years of providing free, independent advice this week.

And its chief officer for North Lancashire said that many of the problems seen when the charity was founded on September 4 1939 - the day after World War II was declared - are still being seen today.

Helen Greatorex at the Citizens Advice Bureau as it celebrates 80 years.  Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Helen Greatorex at the Citizens Advice Bureau as it celebrates 80 years. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Last year Citizens Advice helped 2.7m people across England and Wales in person, by phone, email or web chat.

80th anniversary celebrations will be taking place across England and Wales throughout the year.

Helen Greatorex chief officer of Citizens Advice North Lancashire, said: “On this important anniversary we want to celebrate all volunteers past and present and say thank you to them for their time, commitment and service to the community in the Lancaster District. We really couldn’t do it without them.

“Our advice changes lives because we are constantly adapting to the challenges people face, from broadband bills to Universal Credit.

External of Morecambe's Citizens Advice Bureau. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

External of Morecambe's Citizens Advice Bureau. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

“Whatever the problem, our amazing staff and volunteers do all they can to help people find their way forward.

“We are here for everyone and we will continue to help make things better.”

Ms Greatorex said that recent government cuts and changes to services mean that families are left with not enough money to eat or heat their homes.

“We see people in poverty, with poor or affordable housing, who work hard but are in low paid, insecure work, trying to make ends meet. The health and well-being of our community is affected and we continue to campaign against inequality and stand up for those who are most seriously disadvantaged by policy change. “Throughout the years we have been, and will continue to be, the first port of call for advice and guidance in our community. We work hard and in partnership to continue to meet changing advice needs of our community.

(l-r) Emmaline Turley, digital support advisor with Steven Watts, Caroline Watts and Peter Entwisle in the computer hub at Morecambe's Citizens Advice Bureau. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

(l-r) Emmaline Turley, digital support advisor with Steven Watts, Caroline Watts and Peter Entwisle in the computer hub at Morecambe's Citizens Advice Bureau. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

In the current year our advisers have seen nearly 8,000 people and dealt with over 18,000 advice issues.

She said: “I struggle to express just how proud I am of our team who have seen more people this year at a time when issues are becoming more complex and hard to resolve.

“I want to pay special tribute to the hundreds of volunteers over 80 years who have given and continue to give their time and dedication. We really are a charity run for and by the community.”

Citizens Advice North Lancashire held its annual general meeting Lancaster Town Hall on September 4.

Citizens Advice is a charity reliant on raising funds locally.

It is the primary agency for distributing vouchers for local food banks.

In 2013 it issued food vouchers to feed 49 people, including 13 children for Morecambe Bay Foodbank.

This year 4,811, almost half being children, used the foodbank - an increase of almost 10,000 per cent over six years.