THE Lord Lieutenant of Essex visited an advice centre to celebrate its 80th anniversary.

Jennifer Tolhurst was at the Citizens Advice Colchester to unveil a plaque.

She was joined by other dignitaries in the same week as the service announced it had been forced to reduce its drop-in service.

The advice bureau first opened its doors on December 4, 1939, months after the start of the Second World War, and has worked continuously to support the people of Colchester and surrounding areas.

Last year, staff saw 6,000 clients at the Crouch Street offices.

Ms Tolhurst heard first hand about the work of the volunteers and staff in providing a range of advice to people in need.

She saw how advisers can provide help online through the Citizens Advice webchat system and heard about the work at The Lakes hospital and at the Job Centre.

Bill Hayton, interim chairman of Citizens Advice Colchester, said: “This was a great occasion to say thank you to the dozens of people without whom we could not run our service.

“We are in the middle of restructuring the organisation to cope with new challenges and this was a great reminder of how much everyone’s efforts are appreciated.” By the end of the year, Colchester Council would have handed over £25,000 to the


In 2018, the group received £50,000 from the council and the year before this received £101,791.

Due to the funding cuts, staff have had to reduce the drop-in service to one day per week, on Wednesdays, in addition to pre-arranged appointments and phone conversations.

The volunteers hope to provide a second day of drop-in advice at a new location.

The centre is due to receive a second voluntary welfare grant instalment of £12,500 later this month.

Earlier this year, it was announced an extra £17,500 from the council’s spending priorities budget would be allocated.