Continuing community connections

Understanding our community is a critical key for Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers.

“Knowing and growing connections with local groups, organisations and agencies helps us unlock a good service,” manager Rani Timoti says. “The more familiar we are with what’s out there, the easier it is to direct clients.”

When volunteers refer a client to an organisation they’re already familiar with they can share some handy points to make their next steps smoother.

For example, if there’s parking available, what the building looks like, is there a landmark near it, about the friendly staff or who best to see.

Volunteers can save clients time and frustration if they’re aware of some main factors/points with local agencies/organisation.

“Building relationships can also lead to learning and development opportunities for volunteers where people can be invited to speak about their group or service,” says Rani.

This year the CAB office at 16 Commercial Rd has been brimming with community comings and goings.

So far the established Community Support Networking Group, Pro Care’s Ready Steady Quit programme and Otakanini Topu regularly meets there.

Meetings are also held at various times for Oranga Tamariki, the local Justice of the Peace association and a health group.

Clients are also referred to our budget advisor from groups like Parent Aid and South Kaipara Good Foods and agencies like Work and Income.

“This year our budget advisor, who is also a JP, will provide his expertise for South Kaipara Good Foods to continue their support for their own clients who have a rapport with this amazing operation with volunteers just like us who want the best for our area,” says Rani. “To work alongside our community organisations is a privilege for us. We are helping each other to help our locals so it’s a cycle of comradeship.”

Rani already has many ties in the community and will be speaking to local groups and organisation throughout the year about her “indispensable” Citizens Advice Bureau.

The CAB office opens Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and Saturdays from 10am to noon. Trained and qualified volunteers also include JPs each day.

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