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CAB Proud Of Response To Challenges Of Covid-19

CABAC Manager Kate Anderson told attendees at the Annual General Meeting of Citizens Advice Bureau Auckland City Incorporated (CABAC) this week, CABAC branches, along with CABs around the country, moved quickly to change the service delivery model in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“During the first lockdown, volunteers worked from home, using their own internet access, devices, and phones to respond to phone and email client enquiries. These calls were triaged by our Branch Managers, also working from home,” Ms Anderson said.

“During lockdown employment issues dominated the calls and emails, along with health-related questions, mostly about COVID-19. “

“In addition, some of our volunteers assisted with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Ministry for Social Development (MSD) programme to contact older people living alone to ensure their health and wellbeing during lockdown.”

“During the most recent lockdown in Auckland in August, CABAC volunteers switched back into this mode and we also worked with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS), to assist with the non-health needs of people required to self-isolate related to the community clusters at that time,” she said.

It had been a challenging year for CABAC but people in CAB could be proud that they stepped up and responded to these challenges, continuing the service in difficult times, Ms Anderson said.

The AGM honoured several volunteer members with Life Membership of CABAC:


Central Auckland CAB (based in Auckland Central Library) – three members


Diane Hunt – 17 years of CAB Service

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Diane has been a valuable member of the team since 2003. She has been a highly committed team member volunteering on the Wednesday morning shift and mentoring numerous CAB mentees. Diane is truly invested in gaining the best possible outcomes for her clients. Diane retired this year as a bureau interviewer.

Patricia Ellis – 22 years of CAB Service

Patricia had been a valuable member of the team since 1998. She had been a highly committed team member volunteering on the Monday afternoon shift and always willing to help out on other shifts and attended team meetings and functions. Patricia will be missed as a bureau interviewer as she retired this year.

Don Wackrow – 44 years of CAB Service

Don has been a CAB legal advisor since the mid-1970s and responsible for the roster of the Legal Clinic at the Central Auckland branch till the present time. He has provided an outstanding service, being generous with both his professional skills and time to support CAB clients who have nowhere else to go.

The CABAC Board acknowledged this lengthy service by first making Don a member of CABAC – this is unusual as most of our members are CAB Interviewers.

Waiheke Branch (based at Oneroa) - One member

Mary Bertrand – 22 years of CAB Service

Mary has been a valued member of the Waiheke volunteer team since 1998. She has in-depth knowledge about the Waiheke community over the long term being the liaison between Waiheke branch and Red Cross. Mary has been a valued mentor and trains Waiheke new volunteers and has acted on behalf of Waiheke clients in an advocacy role.

In addition, Ms Anderson said the meeting acknowledged long service of nine further volunteers ranging from 10 to 40 years’ service. She noted that Maureen Meyer, already a life member, had completed 40 years volunteering at the Onehunga Branch and her contribution had been celebrated at the Branch in July with a special afternoon tea.

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