AN ADVICE centre in High Wycombe set up to help people with the rigours of war is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
High Wycombe Citizens Advice Bureau was one of the first branches of the national charity established with outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.
And in a far cry from the one-room 1930s office above WH Smith, the CAB offices now give help to residents from three floors on Easton Street with fully computerised systems, interview rooms, ‘self help’ access and a dedicated telephone Adviceline service.
Diana Barrans, High Wycombe Bureau Manager said: “At the bureau we are all very proud to be celebrating 75 years of service to the community.
“Over the years the service has developed and grown to meet the changing needs of the community we serve. People come to us with increasingly complex problems which reflect the ways in which society has changed since the service started.
“Easier access to credit, leading to higher levels of debt, is a good example. The bureau has come a long way since the very early years but we still depend on our dedicated team of volunteers to deliver a free advice service to the community.”
The CAB aims to provide advice and help on a range of issues including money worries, personal and family problems and legal rights.
With over 330 locations across England and Wales, the organisation helped helped 2.1 million people to solve 6.6 million problems in 2012/13.
The High Wycombe branch has also launched a face-to-face service in Marlow to reach out to residents there who may be unable to make the journey to Wycombe.
As a charity, High Wycombe CAB relies on outside funding to survive and its main benefactor is Wycombe District Council, which has provided long term support.
Diana added: “We are very appreciative of their long term and ongoing support. The positive working relationship we have had with council members and officers over the years has really helped us to provide a good service to people in the district."
Staff are now keen to ensure the service can go on for another 75 years, and are asking people to sign a petition calling for free advice to be made available for future generations to take advantage of.
The pledge can be accessed at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/adviceforthefuture
If you need advice you can contact the bureau on 08442451289.
If you think that you would like to become a volunteer for the CAB service, please go to www.adviceguide.org.uk or the High Wycombe CAB website www.highwycombecab.org.uk