Bureau solves citizens' problems

Last updated 05:00 23/03/2014

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When it comes to dishing out information and advice there are few volunteer-staffed organisations that deal with as many people as Citizens Advice Bureaus.

Last year alone saw Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers nationally receive more than 500,000 inquiries on issues ranging from immigration, housing and employment to consumer rights, health and family.

The National Citizens Advice Bureau Awareness Week is being held this week to bring attention to the invaluable work they do.

The Marlborough bureau is as busy as any and, according to co-chairwoman Jennifer Moir, it gets numerous inquiries from people who do not know how to sort out a problem they have with a service provider - whether it's a retailer, tradesperson, employer-employee, tenant-landlord or utilities provider.

She says that many people don't know how to complain effectively, or aren't sure if there's a specific complaints body they can go to if they aren't able to sort things out with the other party.

"Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers have access to huge information resources including a referral database with over 40,000 organisations listed.

So if we don't have the answer we will be able to point you to someone that does," Jennifer says.

The Marlborough bureau has a team of 37, who make themselves available to anyone with a query. "Working with people face to face is one of the great strengths of the Citizens Advice Bureau and one of the joys of being a Citizens Advice Bureaux volunteer.

"It's such a rarity these days to be able to access help and advice from real people in your own community," Jennifer says.

Volunteering at a Citizens Advice Bureau is great way to interact and connect with people in your community.

"There is lots of great information to help with your problems on our website www.cab.org.nz, but sometimes it helps to talk about your issue with someone. You can just pop into the Marlborough Bureau at 25, Alfred St, Blenheim or call 03 578 4272 and we can help you work through your options."

The bureau is an independent community organisation offering a free, confidential and independent service of information, assistance and referral from more than 85 locations stretching from Northland to Invercargill.

The Marlborough Bureau can be contacted on 03 578 4272.

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