It’s a special year for Banbridge and District Citizen’s Advice Bureau as it marks it’s 25th anniversary.
The Bureau was opened to the public in February, 1989 and was subsequently officially opened by local comedian Gene Fitzpatrick at an event attended by representatives of local statutory and voluntary agencies, including the then Chair of Banbridge Council, Samuel Cowan.
At the opening it was stressed that the Bureau would be free and confidential, and would also “be impartial, which means the punk rocker with the earring gets the same service as the elderly lady who comes in to enquire about her pension”.
At the outset it was situated in the old Dunbar School on the Downshire Road, and then, as now, dealt with a wide range of queries and provided advice, information and support or people in the Banbridge area .
The Bureau later moved to the Old Town Hall in the centre of Banbridge where it remained for 16 years.
In 2010 because of the refurbishment of the Old Town Hall the Bureau moved to 77 Bridge Street, where it is currently situated.
Recognition must be given to the Bureau’s advisers, many of them volunteers, who have provided such a sterling service to the residents of the Banbridge and District area over the years.
While there have been many advisers and clients through the door over the last twenty five years, and while there have been many changes in society and technological advances which have affected people’s lives, the problems faced by individuals remain remarkably similar to those of twenty five years ago
Over the 25 years the Bureau is indebted to the support of Banbridge Council without which it could not have operated successfully. With the amalgamation of the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councils from April 1 it is likely there will be further changes to the Bureau and how it will operate.