Citizens Advice Bristol is one of over 300 local charities who together as members of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux make up the largest advice provider.
The Citizens Advice service helps people to resolve their problems.
We work to make society fairer by providing free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination.
Most of our team are highly trained volunteers who deliver advice and support across a wide range of advice subjects including Welfare Rights, debt, employment, housing, consumer, relationship and general legal issues. There’s lots of information about the service we offer today throughout the website.
You can read our latest annual report and see our audited accounts 2015 below.
You can read useful information about Citizen Advice Bristol and its projects by downloading the following documents:
Works for you? Employment Report October 2015
Help to Rent newsletter Spring 2015
Bristol CAB Macmillan newsletter June 2014
Bristol CAB Impact Report 2013
CEP Social Media Starter Pack
Bristol Advice Point Survey report
The first Citizens Advice opened in 1939 as a response to the huge demand for advice and support created by the outbreak of World War II. You can find out all about the early history of Citizens Advice here.
Citizens Advice Bristol is relatively youthful by comparison, opening in 1977 in a former restaurant opposite the Odeon. Work began with 18 trained volunteers and two salaried staff, who dealt with 120 clients on the first morning of opening.
James Callaghan was Labour Prime Minister until 1979. In 1977, street parties were held all over the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and a notorious Punk band released their own version of 'God Save The Queen'.
Here’s a quick tour of our first three decades of delivering advice to the people of Bristol:
- No proper case records, everything was paper based.
- Enquiries were numerous - over 30,000 in 1980 – but rather less complex than they are today, with most focusing on consumer issues.
- We were under continual threat of closure in the early 80s, due to lack of funds and problems with premises. In 1982 the lease expired on the first office in Broadmead and Bristol City Council offered premises in the old Bank of England in Broad Street described by the Evening Post at the time as “a spacious modern building”.
- On 2 April 1980, riots were sparked by a Police raid on the Black and White Café in St Pauls.
- In 1986 the Evening Post ran a number of articles about money problems, including ‘Victims of the Credit Trap: How debt drives the desperate further downhill'.
- The decade was characterised by a 'Boom and Bust Economy' with runaway wage rises and house prices followed by two severe depressions and the growth of debt problems for many.
- 19 October 1987 was Black Monday, when the Stock Market crashed. In October 1989 mortgage interest rates peaked at 15%, followed by a fall in house prices that left many in ‘negative equity’.
- In the second half of the decade, half of all new enquiries to Citizens Advice Bristol were debt-related. We were quoted in the Evening Post as saying: “Five years ago someone with multiple debt problems was a rarity. Now it is much more common.”
- Our 1991/2 Annual Report opens with the following line: “A huge proportion of the problems affecting our users have been prompted by the economic climate or are adversely affected by it, unemployment rates have risen and job security is weaker.” This was reflected in the appointment of the first paid Money Adviser and specialist Welfare Rights Worker in the early 90s.
- Homelessness was an increasingly important issue in Bristol in the early 1990s and we built relationships with homelessness hostels and charities to help support clients.
- The Poll Tax was introduced in April 1990 to replace General Rates which was then replaced in 1993 by the Council Tax.
- Citizens Advice Bristol joined with other agencies to support people brought before the Magistrates Court for Poll Tax debt.
- We crept towards the cyber age with the purchase of a single computer.
- In October 2000 we received a visit from our national Patron the Princess Royal.
- Information and case recording systems were computerised.
- Our Health Related Welfare Rights Service was set up in 2000 at Charlotte Keel Health Centre in Easton.
- We were awarded funding from national government for the first time in 2005 to support our financial inclusion work.
- In 2007 we held our 30th anniversary celebrations at Circomedia.
- Our Macmillan funded Cancer Advice Service started in 2009.
- 2010 saw the opening of our Bristol Advice Point on Quay Street, offering drop-in advice five days a week in a far more pleasant environment.
- George Ferguson, Bristol's elected Mayor, launched our 2012-13 Impact Report at our Quay Street offices.
- In March 2016 we opened our new office on Fairfax Street in the building which was formerly Preview Bar.
The Citizens Advice Bristol Trustee Board has approved a new Information Assurance Strategy, having identified the risk presented by the significant amounts of client data held by the organisation. An Information Assurance Management Team exists to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all our sensitive data assets is maintained to a level which is consistent with the requirements of our clients, our funders and our strategic partners. We aim to achieve an appropriate level of compliance to the Data Protection Act, the Cabinet Office’s Security Policy Framework and to industry best practice, as defined by the ISO 27000 series of standards.