Celebrating 40 years of service

Staff at Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade who are celebrating the charity's 40th anniversary
Staff at Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade who are celebrating the charity's 40th anniversary

Staff at Leighton-Linslade’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau are taking a well-deserved break on Friday, October 23 when they’ll be celebrating four decades of dedicated service to the local community.

They’re holding a 1970s-themed film night at Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre, hosted by ex Barron Knights guitarist Butch Baker.

Bureau manager David Wood said: “We’re screening the classic disco movie Saturday Night Fever, released round about the time of our inception, and have invited local council representatives as well as dignitaries such as the High Sheriff.”

They’d also like to hear from former volunteers, staff or clients whose lives they’ve helped to change.

The film event will double as a fundraiser, with local organisations donating generous raffle prizes.

And just in case anyone is concerned, it will be business as usual during office hours.

Recalling the branch’s proud history, David said it originally opened in 1975, following an initiative the previous year by the Round Table.

“We started with one paid manager and 23 volunteers,” he said. “Today we have six part-time paid employees and more than 40 trained volunteers, the longest serving of whom is Sue Stott, who joined in 1993.”

In their first year, CAB handled 1,600 enquiries. By 2014/15 that number had risen to 9,900 with Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade – or CALL, as it’s now known, under a national rebranding programme – helping more than 4,000 clients.

David explained: “Our advice is free, confidential and impartial and we can help with almost any issue including debt, benefits, employment, housing, tax, consumer complaints and many more.

“We’re a registered charity, partially funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and Leighton-Linslade Town Council. But we need to fundraise in order to maintain and increase our services to the local community.

“It costs about £120,000 to run the current service. We need to find a quarter of that from other sources so fundraising is a major ongoing activity.”

He added their loyal volunteers, who receive intensive training, are worth a cool £234,000, based on equivalent earnings.

> More details at www.leightonlinsladecab.org.uk