‘Focused on the job’ – 30 years and counting for CAB

SHETLAND Citizens Advice Bureau has turned 30 years old – and the charity is busier than ever.

The organisation, which offers free, confidential and independent advice to local people on any problem, has been serving the islands since 1992.

A small birthday celebration will be held after the CAB’s AGM tonight (Thursday) at the Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick.

Speaking before the AGM, Shetland CAB chair Fiona Robertson said: “Thirty years is a significant milestone, and we wanted to mark it by saying ‘thank you’ to all the staff and volunteers – past and present – who have done such a great job supporting the community over all this time.

“But of course our celebrations will be fairly short. We’re well aware that the cost of living crisis is hitting people hard, and our staff and volunteers remain focused on the job, which is helping people.

“Whatever your problem is, remember CAB is here to help and we want to hear from anyone who needs us. The next 30 years of Shetland CAB starts now.”

Malcolm Ferguson, Shetland CAB’s longest serving volunteer adviser with 27 years of experience, said, “This place has changed so much since I started. In those days it was all paper-based, and we didn’t have the technology we have these days.

“And I have to say, CAB has moved really well with that technology. Thanks to our IT systems, we were able to continue supporting local people right through the pandemic period.

CAB's Shetland manager Karen Eunson, chairman Gordon Mitchell and Citizens Advice Scotland's Highlands and Islands development officer Carol Greer. Photo: Chris Brown.CAB’s Shetland manager Karen Eunson, ex-chairman Gordon Mitchell and Citizens Advice Scotland’s Highlands and Islands then development officer Carol Greer. pictured at the 25th anniversary in 2017. Photo: Chris Brown.

“I am glad though that the service is now able to offer face to face advice and home visits, as well as advice by email and phone.

“But there are two things that haven’t changed. The first is the need for our service, never more so than now, when people are really worried about how they are going to cope with rising prices, particularly energy costs.

“The second thing that hasn’t changed is the spirit of the team here. There is a great sense of dedication in the team. We really want to help people, whatever their problem is. 

“For me, the satisfaction comes from being able to help clients with their problems and know that perhaps I have been able to change their situation for the better.”

The chair of Citizens Advice Scotland also paid tribute to the local branch on its birthday.

Rory Mair CBE said: “Shetland CAB is an exemplary organisation and a key part of our network. 30 years is quite something.

“I’m sure there are many in the local communities across the islands who have positive memories of how CAB made a difference in their lives. And I know the team will continue to offer the best advice service going forward.”

Meanwhile Beatrice Wishart MSP has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament to mark the milestone.

The branch employs 15 staff members and 12 volunteer advisors, including three trainees.

With ever-increasing demand, the bureau, which is managed by a board of 11 directors, is on the lookout for more volunteers.

Shetland CAB – one of 59 branches in Scotland – can be contacted on 01595 694696 or email sicab@shetland.org 

Shetland News