Citizens Advice Plymouth recently marked 80 years of providing free, independent and confidential advice for people by throwing a party at Devonport Guildhall for staff, volunteers and stakeholders.

Originally set up during World War Two to respond to the issues faced by people in Plymouth it originally operated out of Marlborough House on Marlborough Road by North Hill.

Over the years the service has operated out of different locations across the city including Devonport Guildhall and near the Magistrates Court. Today its main offices are at Cobourg House on Mayflower Street.

Last year over 19,000 clients who live, work and study in the city used the service either face to face, over the phone or digitally.

Staff and volunteers helped these clients with over 118,000 issues and had a 97% satisfaction rating with a 100% of clients stating they would recommend our service.

Emma Handley, Chief Officer said, “We were delighted to bring our staff, volunteers, trustees, stakeholders and funders together to mark 80 years of Citizens Advice with a look back at the work we have done since the service launched during the Second World War.

I am proud of how our service has continued to adapt down the years to help people with whatever issue they may be facing. It was especially poignant to host our celebration at Devonport Guildhall where we had previously run our service from the cells in the basement

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever worked for, volunteered and supported Citizens Advice Plymouth down the years, we could not do what we do with the fantastic people who make up the core of what we do.

We may be 80 years old as a service, but our mission remains the same, to provide advice and empower the people who live, work and study in Plymouth to tackle the problems they and their families face.”

Across England and Wales Citizens Advice helped 100.000 more people this year compared to last taking the total to 2.7 million people helped across the network. In Plymouth growth of the service continues with a bespoke debt advice drop in clinic operating out of Cobourg House, the Advice Plymouth face to face advice partnership out of Ernest English House, Buckwell Street and the Universal Credit Help to Claim scheme.

This is part of the commitment announced at the birthday event to look to the future and ensure that putting clients at the heart of everything we do continues. Last year Citizens Advice Plymouth recruited 62 new staff and volunteers to push forward with an ambitious programme of continual development of our service.

Suzi Cumberland, Chief Operating Officer said “With Citizen Advices 80th Birthday it has been a time for us to reflect and plan for the future. We are conscious that we are only scratching the surface in terms of reaching those that need access to our service, and we are also mindful that the population of Plymouth will continue to grow.

Health and Wellbeing data supports the fact that Plymouth is, and will continue, to fall short of national averages across multiple areas and we are also aware of the need to diversify the clients we attract, particularly underrepresented groups.

These are some of the challenges we will be looking to meet in the coming months and years with an ambitious but important plan to bring our advice and services to more of those who need it “