The Drumchapel Citizens Advice Bureau has been in operation since 1960. Originally situated in the Anderston district of Glasgow they were forced to move because of the city reconstruction of that area and in 1963 they acquired premises in Drumchapel in a three-bedroom house in Inchfad Drive.
The building of Drumchapel had begun in the 1950’s as part of a citywide housing programme to relocate families from run-down inner city areas. It was here that the Glasgow University Settlement established the Family Advice Centre, run by a full-time trained caseworker, assisted by a large team of volunteers, mainly wives of Glasgow University Staff. Lecturers from The Glasgow University Extra Mural Departments provided training.
In 1975 Drumchapel became independent from the settlement and became part of the national movement under the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and then Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux. It was at this point that Drumchapel Citizens Advice Bureau employed its first paid member of staff.
When it started the bureau opened 2½ days per week, plus one evening. Gradually this increased and by 1968 it was opened daily; morning and afternoon and continued the one evening opening, which included the legal advisory service.
The number of enquiries dealt with rose from 70 per month in the first year to 300 per month by 1968. Thereafter the annual figures rose from 3600 to nearly 7000 by the 1970’s.
During the initial years the Bureau depended entirely on volunteers. The numbers rose to over 20 and stayed around that figure for the first decade. Today we have 11 paid members of staff and over 40 volunteers gifting their time to our bureau.
Throughout the years the relationship between Drumchapel CAB and the wider community has continued to grow and strengthen. The CAB has also had to constantly change and adapt to meet the ever increasing needs of our community:
- In the 1960’smany of our enquiries related to poor housing and homelessness.
- The 1970’s brought frequent enquiries relating to housing, family and personal issues and consumer issues relating to trade/business and faulty goods. Social security enquiries rocketed as unemployment increased.
- The 1980’ssaw some of the most radical Social Security Reforms with the introduction of the social
- fund. The community charge (Poll Tax) was introduced in Scotland to replace domestic rates and by the end of the decade, 3 out of 5 people in the community charge category were in arrears. A massive growth in enquiries also reflected the rise in poverty with debt and unemployment through large-scale redundancies across the country.
- Throughout the 1990’s the largest category of enquiries was about benefits, the extensive failures of the Child Support Agency as well as enquiries relating to job insecurity, short-term contracts and low pay. There were many clients who lost their homes due to the downturn in the housing market leading to a sharp rise in the number of debt and homelessness cases.