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4th September 1939 

The day after World War II begins the Citizens Advice Bureaux service is set up across the UK by the National Council for Social Services to help people to deal with the difficulties and anxieties that the war is expected to cause, giving advice about new regulations. Citizens Advice opens in 200 locations.

8th September 1939

The Evening Sentinel puts out a call for volunteers to staff the bureaux in North Staffordshire. There are hopes to eventually open eleven offices at: Meir, Longton, Fenton, Stoke, Hanley, Buslem, Tunstall, Goldenhill, Abbey Hulton, Newcastle and Kidsgrove.

In co-operation with the National Council of Social Service, steps are being taken to establish at various points throughout North Staffordshire a series of Citizens Advice Bureaux.
Social Service organisations in many towns have set up similar bureaux, the object being that the public will be provided with vital information on personal and social problems. The success of their work will depend upon a simple but efficient scheme of organisations, and the willingness of local authorities, voluntary bodies and private individuals to co-operate ..." click to read full article

16th September 1939

Another call for volunteers for the five bureaux offices set up so far: Burslem, Longton, Meir, Stoke and Tunstall.

"Citizens’ Advice Bureaux In North Staffs.
Good progress has been made with the plans to establish Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in various parts of North Staffordshire, and on Monday offices will be opened at the following centres:-

Art School, Queen-street, Burslem;
Central Hall, Stafford-street, Longton:
Community centre, Uttoxeter-rd., Meir;
Victoria Church Institute, Church-street, Stoke; and
Forster-street Council School, Tunstall."

click to read the full article.


27th October 1939

About 50 bureau workers attend a meeting to discuss the progress of the service in North Staffs. They have dealt with 350 inquiries since the first bureaux were opened in September. By this point there are nine bureaux in operation. Milton, Hanley, Newcastle and Kidsgrove Bureaux have joined Burslem, Longton, Meir, Stoke and Tunstall,

A meeting under the auspices of the Stoke-on-Trent and District Social Service Emergency Committee was held at Craft House, Newcastle, for those working with the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in North Staffordshire.
About 50 bureau workers were present representing the nine bureaux which have so far been set up.
At the first session, a discussion on the work of the bureaux was opened but Miss Lamb, Secretary for the Longton Bureau, who described the way in which she and her helpers had set about their work in Longton. She stressed particularly the way in which the number of people coming for advice had gradually increased since the bureau was opened from one or two a day, until now they were receiving up to eight inquires a day.

click to read full article

24th November 1939

The nine bureaux have dealt with more than 1,000 cases since opening.

 "Citizens’ Advice Bureaux

The steady growth in the number of inquiries at the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux proves that a very useful service is being rendered to the public.

There are now established throughout the country 840 Advice Bureaux working in conjunction with the National Council of Social Service. In the nine which have been established in North Staffordshire under the direction of the Stoke-on-Trent and District Social Service Emergency Committee, more than 1,000 cases have been dealt with in the last few weeks ..." click here to read full article



As well as giving advice about rationing and housing problems the bureaux were also giving advice about pensions.

16th May 1941

16th May 1941 small

click to enlarge

Supplementary Pensions

The Hon. Secretary, Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, Craft House, Lower-street, Newcastle, invites all old age pensioners who are in difficulty with their claims for supplementary old age pensions to call at one of the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, where they will be given the advice and information they need. click here to read full article



There were 10 bureaux across North Staffordshire Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton, Fenton, Meir, Milton, Werrington and Newcastle. 

The bureau office in Hanley had moved to the Art School in Hanley in May 1940. In 1941/1942 the bureaux had dealt with 18,000 cases.

May 1947

This article in the Sentinel from 16th May 1947 refers to the Council opening an Advice Centre in the Barracks to supplement the work of the Citizens' Advice Bureau. The new Information Officer for Newcastle is quoted as saying "... it was not intended to take over from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the National Council of Social Service any of the domestic problems with which they had been dealing so efficiently."



An Information Centre where advice may be obtained on all questions relating to local Government service was opened at the Barracks, Barracks road, Newcastle yesterday, by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman J. H. Ramsbotham, in the presence of members of the Council and their wives and Corporation officials ..."  click here to read the full article

EVENING SENTINEL. Friday, May 16th 1947

July 1947

It was recommended that the Stoke-on-Trent Corporation should take over the work of the CAB service in Stoke-on-Trent.

June 1948

Stoke-on-Trent Corporation withdrew £500 funding for the CAB service in Stoke-on-Trent.



Hanley CAB experienced an increase in the number of inquiries into Hire Purchase problems and began a nationwide campaign to improve the information given to people taking out HP agreements. One family reportedly had 30 HP agreements and many subject to court orders. As a result of this campaign a new leaflet about HP agreements was inserted into every new rent book.

Hanley CAB was one of the first bureaux in the country to help clients with debt problems and offered a debt repayment scheme by which it ‘takes over all the agreements, receives a lump sum from the family every week, and methodically pays off the debts in order of urgency’.


The Rent Act 1957 brought in an increase in the number of inquiries into the CAB service in Stoke-on-Trent from people who were affected by the rent decontrol which allowed private landlords to increase rents.


The bureau secretary Mr H.F. Cooper reported that Hanley CAB was handling an average of 314 inquiries a month. Many of the problems then are the same that our clients are experiencing today ‘We’ve got to leave our rooms at the end of the week. We can’t find anywhere to live. Can you suggest somewhere?’

A bureau extension office was opened in the Community Centre in Meir.


Hanley CAB moved into 7a Broad Street (next door to Hancock’s Pet Shop)



Hanley CAB moved into 46 Marsh Street Hanley where it was to stay for 30 years.


Kidsgrove CAB opened in Market Street Kidsgrove.


1978 / 1979

Hanley CAB received 12,131 inquiries in the year, 2,724 were related to consumer problems, 2,516 related to family and personal issues. There were only 617 inquiries about social security problems.

June 1978

Hanley CAB opened a consumer advice centre in Stafford Street in Hanley to give pre-shopping and after-shopping advice.

July 1978

Hanley CAB opened a new extension office at 235 Dawlish Drive Bentilee (Devonshire Square) and assisted 500 people in the first eight months.

The bureau extension office in Meir moved to the Community Centre on a temporary basis with plans to set up a new service in Longton.



May 1980

Mike Wolfe became the bureau organiser for Hanley CAB.


The City Council awarded the bureau a grant of £13,000 to extend the office in Marsh Street to enable the office to have 3 extra interview rooms (taking the total to 5) and a training room. In that year the service dealt with 16,000 inquiries of which ‘many related to social benefit claims’.


Longton CAB opened which was a separate charity to Hanley CAB.

A mobile CAB caravan began touring the north of the city ‘to make people aware of the welfare benefits that are a present going unclaimed’ It was estimated that more than £5m in welfare benefits was going unclaimed in North Staffordshire. 


The Potteries Gold benefits take-up campaign was running across the city to give people advice about the introduction of Income Support and Housing Benefit.


Tunstall CAB opened in Tunstall Town Hall with Jude Hawes as Manager of the service. The CAB used partitioned off areas in the hall as interview rooms and an office which had to be packed away at the end of every day into filing cabinets. We later moved into shop premises at the front of the Town Hall which allowed for full access for disabled staff, volunteers and enquirers.


Longton CAB and Hanley CAB merged to form Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureaux.

Throughout the 1980s

The Hanley CAB became one of the leading agencies for debt advice and developed a set of procedures for handling debt problems which became the standard for many advice agencies.

In 1989/90 Mike Wolfe and Jill Iverson wrote the CPAG Debt Advice Handbook which is still being published today. The 13th edition is due out on 31st October 2019.




Following funding cuts the CAB offices in Longton and Tunstall were closed.

July 1994

The CAB service in Tunstall was re-opened for one day a fortnight.


Stoke-on-Trent CAB moved from Marsh Street to Advice House in Cheapside and was at that time the largest CAB in the country.

The office was still too small for all the staff and projects so they also had to rent rooms above the amusement arcade in Piccadilly.


Newcastle and Kidsgrove Citizens Advice Bureaux were merged.

We launched the Partnership Approach to Racist Incidents in North Staffs – one of the first local multi agency racist incident partnerships in the country. We led PARINS – along with the North Staffs Racial Equality Council for the next 10 years.




The extension to Advice House was opened increasing the number of interview rooms to 15 and increasing office space for staff. The extension also enabled the bureau to have a training room for staff and volunteers.

Mike Wolfe the Chief Executive Officer of Stoke CAB became the elected Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent so after 20 years, Simon Harris was appointed as his successor and is still the CEO.


Challenge North Staffs (CNS) was launched to assist people who are victims of Hate Crime. This project grew out of PARINS – Partnership Approach to Racist Incidents in North Staffs.




A new national Citizens Advice line contact centre was set up in the Stoke CAB offices in Cheapside.

December 2012

The Potteries MoneyWise project was launched to help people develop skills and confidence they need to manage their money better.

31st March 2013

Stoke-on-Trent CABx, Newcastle and Kidsgrove CABx and Biddulph CAB were merged to form Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureaux.

April 2013

Legal Services funding for CAB services ended resulting in:

  • Loss of the employment advice service
  • Limiting the level of advice and support we can give on welfare benefits and ending our ability to represent clients at Tribunal in most cases.

August 2013

The Big Lottery funded Potteries Gold project began to advise and assist people who are impacted by welfare reform including Universal Credit. The project also runs benefit take-up campaigns to advise people who are missing out on their full entitlements; it is estimated that people in Stoke-on-Trent are missing out on over £50m in un-claimed benefits every year.

January 2019

The Help to Claim Service was started to assist people to make new claims for Universal Credit and to support them up to the first payment.