The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Buckinghamshire celebrated its 80th birthday recently at an event held at the Gateway in Aylesbury.
CAB offers practical, up-to-date information and advice on a wide range of topics, including benefits, housing and immigration.
Formed on 4 September 1939, the day after World War Two broke out, the bureau was initially focussed on the consequences of war for non-combatants, such as rationing, evacuation, and finding missing relatives.
Since then, despite Buckinghamshire being one of the richest counties in one of the world’s richest countries, the Citizens Advice Bureau has been needed more than ever, with 13,982 people seeking advice just in the past year.
This is perhaps no surprise considering that 37,000 households in the region are living in poverty – almost 20% of all households. 25,000 of these are in persistent poverty. 65,000 households in the county are in debt and 9,500 food bank parcels were delivered last year – an increase of 30%.
The most common issues that people sought advice over were benefits, debt, financial services, housing and employment.
District councillor Robin Stuchbury, who attended the event, said:
“After attending the event & seeing the presentation, the statistics are truly concerning and reveal that there is a lot of work to be undertaken before Buckinghamshire can say homelessness and poverty are fully being addressed. The evidence clearly shows that changes in benefits from the government has increased the workload for the Citizens Advice Bureau and they will be needed more than ever as we enter 2020.”
According to its figures, 70% of people felt less stressed or anxious after speaking to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Almost half felt that their physical health had improved. And 60% said they found it easier to manage day-to-day after seeking advice.
With 179 volunteers, CAB offers services through phone, face-to-face or online, reducing barriers to access.
CAB receives £450,000 each year in funding from the district council yet with the help of other investors it delivers almost £900,000 worth of services.
For every £1 invested, CAB generates £3.71 in government savings and £17.56 in financial value to the people it helps.
You can contact your local CAB here: www.aylesburyvaleadvice.org.uk
Or call: 03444 111444