From arranging evacuations to helping debt-laden pay day loan customers, the work of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has changed dramatically since it was formed at the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Chiswick branch of the charity is believed to be one of the first 200 bureaux which opened their doors to the public on September 4, the day after Britain declared war on Germany.

Staff and volunteers at Chiswick CAB joined their counterparts at the centres in Feltham and Hounslow to celebrate the charity's 75th anniversary this month.

Tracing missing relatives, helping Blitz victims get back on their feet and handling rationing enquiries formed the bulk of the CAB's workload after it was set up as an emergency wartime service.

The social revolution and new-found affluence of the 60s saw divorce and the fall-out from 'buy now, pay later' offers dominate its caseload.

Today, the volatile housing market, the rise of pay day loans and the aftermath of the double-dip recession mean advisers are dealing with a whole new set of problems.

Clients queue outside Feltham Citizens Advice Bureau, at The Centre, in Feltham High Street
 

Last year, the three bureaux in Hounslow provided free confidential advice to more than 8,700 clients, handling a total of 26,784 enquiries - an increase of 11 per cent on 2012/13.

More than a third of enquiries during 2013/14 related to welfare benefits, with debt accounting for another 27 per cent of the charity's caseload.

Parveen Sohal, director of Hounslow CAB, said: "From rationing to the recent welfare reform, the CAB has been there for people in times of crisis. People's problems may have changed over the decades but the need for our service has not.

"Our 75th birthday gives us an opportunity to highlight the value of the Citizens Advice service and increase awareness and support among the public and people who make decisions.

"As well as celebrating our past we also need to look forward to the future. As a service we are very proud to have adapted to the changing needs of our clients. I am very grateful to all volunteers who run the service in the shape of advisers, trustees and admin workers."

The CAB has 85 volunteers working across its three offices in the borough, from advisers to IT experts.

As well as providing information and advice to clients, the charity lobbies for policy change.

It campaigned successfully for the tough new rules for pay day lenders introduced earlier this year by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), including more stringent affordability checks.

* Since April this year the CAB has been unable to offer drop-in sessions at its Hounslow office in the Treaty Centre due to the new layout. Residents can call 020 8572 1082 to arrange an appointment or use the drop-in service at the Feltham and Chiswick offices.

A drop-in service is due to be introduced at Montague Hall, in Montague Road, Hounslow, every Wednesday, from 10am to 1pm, starting on October 8.