The president of Acklington WI extended New Year greetings to everyone and welcomed the speaker, Tessa Sayers, who gave an informative presentation on the work of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) and her role as a general advisor in that organisation.
Tessa outlined the process of becoming a voluntary advisor, taking six to 12 months of training and self-study.
From its inception in 1939, when it opened with 200 bureaux, the CAB now operates in 3,000 locations, funded by 300 different charities, with some 20,000 volunteers. They provide face-to-face and telephone advice to two million people, referring to subject specialists when appropriate.
There is also a website – www.citizensadvice.org.uk – to maximise accessibility.
Working on four basic principles – that advice is free, confidential, impartial and independent – the CAB covers a range of family issues and social and legal rights.
The national organisation provides training for advisors, and monitors and manages the database by keeping up to date with ever changing regulations. It uses that database to identify areas of need and takes a proactive role in lobbying for improvements.
The CAB works in partnership with other providers, such as debt advisors.
There are local bureaux in Morpeth, Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham, Blyth and Ashington; our nearest drop-in facility is in Druridge Bay Community Centre, in Hadston shopping centre, on the first Wednesday of each month, from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
The evening continued with the business agenda. In addition to the usual items, the President announced changes to the committee.
She reported on three successful events: a Christmas wreath making workshop, the Christmas hamper raffle and the table-top sale, all of which boosted funds.
Forthcoming events were discussed, namely the annual carpet bowls competition in March, Ringtons’ craft competition in May, and the Acklington WI entry for Warkworth Show in August.
Acklington has the opportunity to send a delegate to the AGM in Brighton inJune and members were asked to consider whether they wished to be considered for this.
Voting papers were collected for the Resolution to be taken to the AGM.
After the raffle, the competition results were announced for a favourite Christmas card, won by S. Linnett. Second was Linda Aston, and third Sheenagh Deakin.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 9, at 7.15pm, when David Carr will be speaking on A Day in the Life of a Grocer.
Visitors and new members are always welcome.