Taku pou whakawhirinaki i nga wa o te porotaitaka
My source of strength in moments of adversity
Looming funding cuts won’t spell doom and gloom for Citizens Advice Bureau Helensville.
Clients are still being looked after and cared for whether at its office at 16 Commercial Rd, online or by phone.
A petition is proving there’s ample public support for the popular community organisation with more than 4000 people signing so far.
Auckland Council’s proposed funding cuts or removal from CABs in Auckland in its budget for 2023/24 could spell the end of its helping hand after serving Tamaki Makaurau for over 50 years.
“The real question is what will happen if CAB’s don’t exist?” says manager Rani Timoti.
“Will staff on councils and agencies in central government have or take the time to listen non-judgementally to stressed out and overwhelmed people? Fill out forms if people don’t know how to do so? Patiently go through the details and provide options for their clients?”
Encouraged by the public positive outcry so far for Auckland’s 32 CABs, Rani says their “amazing army” of volunteers help anyone with everyday stuff to more complex issues, mainly speak for the vulnerable, disadvantaged or those who have to understand or access information they haven’t come across yet.
A vast array of local issues like neighbourhood problems are part of CAB Helensville’s service, which would normally be dealt with by council.
“Sometimes people don’t know about us because they don’t need us. But one day they may and we hope to give them the information and reassurance they need.”
That day came for many first-time users with the weather bombs which rocked Auckland.
Volunteers helped them with issues like using CAB phones or the Internet as they had no power, accessing fresh water and wanting to know how to donate. Some clients were referred from council or anxious about approaching council and government agencies for support.
And support is one of CAB’s strong points, reflected in its Maori translation of its name as pou and its Maori Manaia as the kaupapa (set of principles) for commitment to Maori.
Meanwhile, the organisation hosts its national awareness week from March 20 to 26 supporting diverse communities and celebrating multiculturalism within the CAB whanau.
The continual theme of helping clients in languages other than English, limited literacy, numeracy and digital literacy issues and a range of communities is the purpose of this week.
*Auckland CABs help people with information and advice and connect them with the support they need. Last year our dedicated volunteers in Auckland CABs helped more than 160,000 people. There are nearly 1,000 volunteers in Auckland, operating out of 32 CABs from Wellsford to Papakura.
CAB is campaigning to Save Auckland CABs with a petition running at https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/save-auckland-cabs or available to sign in person at CABs or visit our website www.cab.org.nz for more information