Citizens Advice notches up 75 years of helpful city service

Citizen's Advice Bureau, Wakefield 75th birthday celebrations.
Citizen's Advice Bureau, Wakefield 75th birthday celebrations.

They have been helping the people of Wakefield for nearly 75 years.

The Citizens Advice Bureau opened its doors nationally just after the outbreak of World War Two, and Wakefield’s was one of the first branches.

Citizen's Advice Bureau, Wakefield 75th birthday celebrations.'Liz Halliday

Citizen's Advice Bureau, Wakefield 75th birthday celebrations.'Liz Halliday

Chief executive Liz Halliday, of Wakefield and District CAB, said: “War was declared on September 3 and here in Wakefield we opened our doors on September 4.”

The CAB has been established on King Street for more than 30 years but some of the earliest bureaux were set up in people’s houses.

Mrs Halliday added: “One lady describes how her husband, a solicitor who was exempt from military service, came home and announced they were going to open a bureau in their front room the next day.

“He gave her a copy of some notes from the CAB, some government circulars, and told her to get on with it.”

Back then problems included lost ration books, missing relatives, evacuations and prisoners of war. But one thing soon became a long-running issue – debt – which remains a large part of its work today.

Mrs Halliday added: “I would say 75 per cent of our enquiries relate to debt or benefits.”

A dedicated team of about 30 paid staff and 80 volunteers help people with their problems.

Mrs Halliday said: “If it can happen to a human being then we can generally give them advice on it.”

Members come from all age groups and from all walks of life, but they are united by the common purposes of wanting to help people.

Wakefield CAB decided to celebrate its birthday a few months early to highlight Volunteers Week, which ran until June 7.

They held a tea party last Wednesday at King Street and staged a bake off. Board trustees and councillors Monica Graham and Hilary Mitchell had the difficult task of judging the 30 entries.

Mrs Halliday said: “We wanted to celebrate volunteers. The service has changed a lot in 75 years but the one thing that hasn’t changed is we rely on the good will and generosity of volunteers.”

Wakefield And district citizens advice bureau :

Opened September 4, 1939. The

CAB has been based at King Street since 1979.

The service is free, confidential and impartial to anybody who lives within the district.

Wakefield CAB is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with late opening on Tuesdays until 8pm. Contact 0844 4994138.