Manager Yvonne Cassidy said that the organisation’s extended and modernised premises at 141 High Street was still a “work in progress” but she was delighted it was available to the public again.

Staff and volunteers moved out last November and set up a temporary office in the Fisherrow Centre, offering an appointment-only service.

The centre is now accessed by the public from the side rather than the High Street front as before.

Inside, there is a reception and waiting room area.

An extra interview room has been provided, taking the total number to four, one of which is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies.

The volunteers have a larger space in which to work, as well as a small kitchen to make tea, coffee and snacks which is a completely new addition to the centre.

There is a downstairs toilet and new windows have been installed in the existing staff office space, which is accessed by a new concrete stairway.

Mrs Cassidy said that work on the outside of the building and internal stairway still needed to be completed, as well as some decoration.

“We felt we had been closed long enough and if it was safe for people to come in then we needed to get them in. We know that it’s been missed,” she said.

The CAB employs 12 members of staff and also has 39 volunteers who help out.

Over the last 12 months, more than 1,600 people have got in touch with the CAB about a variety of issues.

Mrs Cassidy added that the CAB hoped to hire out the volunteers room as a training suite to other organisations at weekends when the building was closed to the public.

Mrs Cassidy paid tribute to the volunteers and staff who assisted with painting, redecorating and generally cleaning up of the premises.

She said: “I think my expectations have been exceeded in what we have achieved from it.

“It is about valuing our clients and the service we provide; it may be a free service but it is a good-quality service.

“It’s a partnership. We have got fantastic volunteers and staff base.

“We are absolutely delighted with it.

“We are a very busy CAB handling benefit, debt and utilities issues. We deal with employment and consumer issues.”

Mrs Cassidy added: “Every year we do a client satisfaction survey and our clients have always said they would like to have the option of drop-in or appointments because we didn’t offer appointments in the past unless it was at an outreach clinic.

“We are now going to have drop-in in the morning and the afternoons will be appointments.”

Staff had initially hoped to be back in the CAB on High Street at the beginning of April but the project was delayed due to “a number of factors”, including the “challenging location” of the building, which caused problems for the delivery of skips due to parked cars and a busy bus stop.

In addition, dampness was found in a wall once external stairs were removed, which led to different recommendations from the structural engineer.

Mrs Cassidy said that the bureau received the bulk of the funding from Citizens Advice Scotland to carry out the work on the building, which is owned by East Lothian Council.

She added that the bureau was hopeful of getting funding from the Musselburgh Common Good Fund and the council had also given a small grant.

Musselburgh-based Howdens Joinery gave the CAB a discount on materials used.

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, welcomed the re-opening of the facility.

He said: “It’s great to see that the Musselburgh CAB has re-opened and I look forward to seeing the refurbishment for myself.

“The dedicated staff provide a tremendous service to local people and I know of several of my cases where CAB was able to help the constituent reach the next stage in their case.

"They certainly deserve the refurbishment!"

During and after the refurbishment -