Strength in Adversity

Strength in Adversity

There is a new dawn on the horizon in 2024 for Citizens Advice Bureau Helensville.

Tim Charman, CAB North Shore manager of South Head

Taku pou whakawhirinaki i nga wa o te porotaika: My source of strength in moments of adversity one of our main sayings/whakatauki, this is certainly true as Citizens Advice Bureau Helensville reflects over 2023.

Since “Rebuilding, reconnecting and sharing” has been the emphasis of CABNZ following COVID-19, this year started with a whitewash of weather- Auckland Anniversary flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle.

“But our volunteers responded to this crisis and CAB Helensville was open for locals needing guidance, support; power and the Internet- many who had never needed us before!” says manager Rani Timoti of Muriwai.

“They are where the magic happens, where people experience empathy, compassion and the skill and training to help them find the next steps, the pathway to deal with whatever issue or problem they are struggling with,” says Kerry Dalton, CABNZ Chief Executive.

Then another wave hit us personally- our existence. Auckland Council’s funding cuts threat rallied our 32 Auckland CABs.

“However, from hard times out of the tunnel- the public rallied behind us shining our light,” says Rani. “Whether we expected it or not, the limelight was on our organisation, which is so often working behind-the-scenes and under valued or underrated by the powers-that-be who take from us but don’t/minimally reciprocate.”

Thankfully the Save our Auckland CABs petition generated more than 22.500 signatures and the media highlighted our service.

Here are a few comments from the public:

“I used CAB before. I was feeling very lost, financially strapped, and it was such a relief to talk and converse with people who knew what they were talking about and who could help navigate and advocate for one amongst the various health, social, employment, legal systems in NZ.”

“These people helped me to see things another way, they gave me the time of day, they helped me unpack my issues. If it wasn’t for the support, advice and compassion I may have been homeless. I am 20 now I was 17 years old then. People like me need people like them.”

CAB North Shore’s Impact Lab report got the council’s attention too- showing that every $1 invested in the CAB returns $13.20 of measurable good to NZ- a massive social return on investment (SROI). Auckland Council gave us a reprieve- but there a still funding challenges ahead.

However, after our festive break where our office closes from December 18 and re-opens January 15, we’re back in business.

“A number of community groups have been booking our venue during our office hours and we aim to continue our great relationship with them and build more,” says Rani.

Volunteers will be at the Helensville Show on February 24 also hosting the Seniors Drop-in Zone.

*CAB Helensville’s office at 16 Commercial Rd is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and Saturdays, 10am to noon with a CAB-trained volunteers and JPs available.

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