Life was very different 80 years ago when a local branch of the national Citizens Advice set up in the Dyer Street, Cirencester. It was 1941 and the height of the Second World War. Concerns of clients were understandably often related to the war, with many queries about food rationing, damaged clothes and property. As the war ended, questions about help with repatriation and food parcels became more common.
In current times, our top enquiry areas are benefit entitlements, debt, housing, energy, employment and family problems. We work closely with the North Cotswold and Cirencester foodbanks and enquiries about Food Vouchers continue to be high.
Advice given by well trained volunteers, backed up by a small number of staff was as key then as it is today,.
In 2013 we joined with Stroud Citizens Advice to become Citizens Advice Stroud and Cotswold Districts. We are a small local charity who relies on support from our District Councils, town and parish councils and on donations from local organisations and individuals. We also receive grants for some of our project work. For many years our work in the Cotswolds has been supported by the Friends of Cotswold Citizens Advice (a separate registered charity). They raise funds, help with publicity and most
recently they have provided help with funding to support advice at the Food Bank, and with computer costs.
The Friends recently helped raise funds with a street collection in Cirencester
Market Place, coinciding with the Christmas Market on 5th December. They also wanted to ensure that the local community were aware of the 80 years of continuous service. Thanks to the sterling efforts of the Friends, with help from volunteer receptionists and advisers, a total of £227.31 was collected which will be increased through Gift Aid.
If you would like to become involved in supporting Citizens Advice in our district, why not become a Friend? They can be contacted at FoCCAB@gmail.com, or by writing to:
Friends of Cotswold Citizens Advice, C/O 2/3 The Mews, Cricklade Street, Cirencester, GL7 1HY.
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