Nostalgic community connection

What is the most important thing in the world? Well, let me tell you. It is people, it is people, it is people: Maku e kii atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata

It’s been a walk down memory lane for a community stalwart in visiting Citizens Advice Bureau Helensville.

Jennie Thomas, 90, popped in to meet new manager Rani Timoti of Muriwai and volunteers on roster Frank Bosch and Andrea Kumerich.

She was treated like royalty with her husband Glynn, 91, by a tour of the new premises and a long cuppa and chat along with photo opportunities for the archives.

Jennie was the first Helensville CAB coordinator in 1991 and also started the township’s budget service and food bank.

She said they only had four volunteers with the main client enquiry helping people pay their bills.

The Thomas’ visited after coming from seeing family in Whangarei on route to their home of 32 years- Whangamata.

They were impressed with the spacious premises compared to the small venue CAB originally operated from.

Jennie initially began as a volunteer in CAB Mt Eden as she wanted to give back to her community.

Her generosity and love for people eventuated in a QSM for voluntary service.

In an email the day after their visit, Glyn said it was a boost for Jennie’s morale to be honoured with such hospitality. He added all volunteers should receive a QSM medal.

Meanwhile, CAB Helensville has been a popular to book for community groups during office hours.

The Community Support Network, which comprises 150 members and has been going for about 40 years, now meets on the first Tuesday of the month from 11am- all community groups, representatives are welcome.

If you have a penchant for making a difference for people needing help, support and access to information, a volunteer position could be your calling.

“We provide options at the end of the tunnel for clients who only see one dark way,” says Rani.

The office at 16 Commercial Rd is now open Saturdays from 10am to noon with a CAB-trained volunteer and JP available.

Normal hours are Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm.