Free guidance from the North Otago Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is still on offer during the Covid-19 lockdown, chairman Peter Bond says.
The CAB office, in Community House, is usually staffed by 11 volunteers who work on a rostered basis, between 10am and 1pm, Monday to Friday.
“During the current lockdown, local services are suspended, but assistance is available online, or by ringing 800367-222,” Mr Bond said.
The Level 4 lockdown had arrived in the midst of a hunt for more volunteers, so the bureau could continue offering its services in person when the lockdown lifts.
“We are seeking people with basic computer skills plus a desire to assist people in solving issues and problems,” he said.
In his chairman’s report, presented to the annual meeting earlier this month, Mr Bond said having a website had positively affected the number of inquiries the bureau received both in person and by phone.
“I believe the younger generation, and more computer-savvy members of society, Google and use the CAB public website to access information.”
CAB could help advise people of their rights in a range of areas, including as a consumer, in employment and business, family and personal matters, and with housing.
Probably the biggest issue stemming from the lockdown, was the suspension of local services, Mr Bond said.
“In particular, that of our offer to supply, by appointment, a free 15-minute session with a lawyer.
“Normally those services are offered on a roster basis by Community Law Dunedin, Hope and Associates, and Dean & Coleman Law.”
CAB is funded by the Community Organisation Grants Scheme, the Lion Foundation/Oamaru Licensing Trust, Network Waitaki, Lottery Grants Board, Otago Community Trust, Waiareka Lions Club, and Waitaki District Council.