President Frances Gilroy welcomed members and introduced speaker Joan Stephen of the Aberdeen Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).
This was the November meeting, at which Joan gave an interesting and informative talk on the work of CAB.
The Aberdeen branch is the oldest and biggest in Scotland, being started in 1939 in the Music Hall.
There are 65 bureaux in Scotland and the name of CAB is to ensure an individual is aware of his or her rights and to give impartial advice. CAB is essentially an advice agency - it will the give the various options and the likely outcomes but the client is left to make the choice.
In Aberdeen, there are 25 members of staff and 102 volunteers with an age range of 19-84. An average of 25-30 people are seen daily. Last year 14,098 were seen.
Joan gave a reume of the various services: helping individuals with welfare or housing benefits, through the welfare rights project, working with Macmillan cancer PAS (Patient Advice Service), participating with the NHS on issues such as waiting times, staff incompetence and helping patients to make a complaint.
For kinship carers, CAB will help in claiming allowances which differ from council to council. There are also money advice projects, hospital outreach, an employment advisor who can help negotiate between an employer and employee since tribunal costs are high. In conjunction with Poppy Scotland help can be given to members of the armed forces past and present. Funding comes from Aberdeen City Council via the common good fund, NHS and Poppy Scotland.
Joan said working for CAB is enjoyable but can be frustrating at times. She answered several questions. Ellie McLeod proposed thanks.