A new film from Scottish rapper and anti-poverty campaigner Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey celebrates 80 years of Citizens Advice in Scotland.
The film was screened tonight for the first time at a reception in the Scottish Parliament.
It shows Darren McGarvey visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau in Pollok and talking to staff, volunteers and clients there about the CAB network and what it does for people across the country.
MSPs from all over Scotland and from all parties are attending the special Holyrood reception, sponsored by Angela Constance MSP, as well as representatives from Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland.
Scotland’s first Citizens Advice Bureau opened in 1939 in Glasgow during the Second World War with bureaux opening in Aberdeen, Stirling and Dundee soon after.
Since then the network has extended to include 59 individual bureaux, each a charity in their own right, which give advice on any issue ranging from social security and debt to consumer issues, tribunal support and help with energy bills.
Darren McGarvey said:
“Something I found really interesting about Citizens Advice Bureaux I didn’t realise was that they have actually been operating pre-welfare state.
“That means there isn’t an institution in public life which is perhaps better-placed or more experienced in terms of dealing with the evolving needs and concerns of citizens.
“Ultimately it is an invaluable service. What you can be assured of when you set foot in the door is that you are going to be treated like a human being, you’re going to be seen as an equal, you’re going to be treated with compassion and you’re going to be treated with respect.”
Angela Constance MSP said:
“MSPs have a very good understanding of how the Citizens Advice network in Scotland works as it reflects a lot of what we do ourselves.
“That twin aim of helping the people in your local community and representing their interests on a national level is something every MSP shares with the service.
“One of the main things that came across tonight was the humanity of the service. The idea that people are listened to and their rights are respected in a local bureau is vital and it’s that humanity that makes the Citizens Advice service so important.”
Graeme Bissett, Vice Chair of Citizens Advice Scotland, said:
“Our network has been around for 80 years because we’re rooted in the communities we serve.
“We’re one of those few organisations that manages to be local and national at the same time and because we have a footprint in every community in Scotland we can work together to show a truly national picture.
“We helped hundreds of thousands of people last year, and as we mark our 80th anniversary we will continue to grow so more people know about the help we provide."