Since 1977 Bristol Citizens Advice has been offering free, independent and confidential advice to the people of Bristol and for much of that time the local charity have been seeking more suitable premises. Now; thanks to an innovative partnership between Trevor Osborne Properties and Bristol City Council; Citizens Advice have moved into new renovated premises (formerly the derelict Preview Bar) designed specifically to meet the needs of a busy advice service.
George Ferguson, Bristol’s elected Mayor, will be officially opening the building at 12.30 on Friday 8th April alongside Thangam Debbonaire, Bristol West MP, Mike Dixon, Assistant Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, and Trevor Osborne of Top Group , who has developed the new offices.
“It is fantastic that we have at last had the opportunity to move into modern accessible premises that will work well for our clients and our team and enable us to work in partnership with others ,” explained Sue Evans, Bristol Citizens Advice Director. “We can now develop our services during a time when demand for advice is constantly increasing. Last year alone we dealt with over 30,000 enquiries from the public and helped people access £6.5m in benefits. We anticipate no decrease in this level of demand for our service in the future and are pleased to be in a position to make a positive impact for the people of Bristol.”
The result is 48 Fairfax Street, which has undergone a transformation from a derelict bar to a modern, fit for purpose office. Fairfax Street is a great location, in the city centre and accessible to many. A long lease secured with a Community Asset Transfer from Bristol City Council ensures security and affordability and enables Citizens Advice to work more effectively with partner agencies.
The Bristol City Council partnership with Top Group will ultimately lead to the restoration of two historic buildings in the old city; The Guildhall and the old Citizens Advice premises the former Bank of England. “We’ve been really pleased to be able to work with Citizens Advice,” explained Trevor Osborne, whose company developed Fairfax Street for the Bristol charity. “Their role in Bristol remains critical for many people and I’m pleased to have helped create a more appropriate building for their often difficult and sensitive work. The arrangements for the relocation wouldn’t have been possible without our partnership with Bristol City Council and the encouragement of the Mayor, George Ferguson. I wish Citizens Advice the greatest success in the continuance of their marvellous and attentive charitable work.”
You can watch the Made in Bristol TV feature on our the building opening here