16 - 22 March is CAB Awareness Week, where we celebrate and promote what the CAB does - and once you’ve read this article you might become aware of some important and useful facts about the Citizens Advice Bureau.
You probably already know that you can come to a CAB to talk to someone face to face about issues ranging from how ACC works to zoning of schools, but you might not know that:
1. our service is free and open to all. Whether a New Zealand citizen or a visitor from overseas, old or young – we’ll try to ensure that you know your rights and responsibilities in any given situation and about services that can help you.
2. our service is available in 25 different languages. CAB Language Link is a specialist service, Auckland-based but accessible nationwide, which is provided by a team of trained native speakers. Many of our bureaux around the country also have volunteers who speak another language, so if you aren’t confident in English there’s a good chance we’ll be able to help you in your own language.
3. the CAB service is provided by 2400 volunteers throughout NZ. They’ve all undergone intensive training and also get regular on-going training on ensure they keep up to date with legislation and policy changes. It’s a big commitment but our volunteers relish it because that’s how they are able to empower the people who come to us for help. Last year our volunteers helped with 520,000 client enquiries.
4. Citizens Advice Bureau is an independent service. We aren’t a government agency and we aren’t aligned with any businesses or organisations. So you can be sure that when you visit a bureau you will get balanced, objective information and options to help you decide on your next step.
5. we have an enormous wealth of information at hand, which complements our volunteers’ knowledge and skills. On our website you can find services and information on all manner of topics, from coffee groups to how to write a letter of complaint or deal with a dispute.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our website, or you still have questions after reading the information, you just can’t beat talking to someone about it. That’s what the CAB is for.