Citizens Advice Bureau closing

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After nearly 40 years the Citizens Advice Bureau in Gore is to close its doors.
Chairwoman Liz Thayer said the service would have celebrated its 40th birthday on February 1 next year.
There were several factors prompting the decision to close the bureau, including a change in circumstances which resulted in the organisation having to pay commercial lease rates on its present office instead of the peppercorn rates they previously paid, Mrs Thayer said.
The organisation explored several avenues in an effort to keep the service open, she said.
“We couldn’t find any premises that we can afford.”
They were looking for affordable, ground-floor premises with parking nearby, she said.
“We had lots of discussions –¬†we’ve been looking for two or three months.”
The bureau was winding down in preparation for closure today, she said.
The only regular funding stream the bureau had was a Lotteries Commission grant distributed annually by the organisation’s head office.
The Gore branch also needed more volunteers if it was to continue. It had 19 at present, she said.
The Gore branch had handled about 3000 inquiries in the last financial year.
Mrs Thayer said Aileen Gammack had been a volunteer with the service for 39 years, beginning her association with the bureau just four months after it opened in Gore, she said.
Mrs Gammack was responsible for loading all the information held by the bureau on to its computer system when the technology was introduced by the organisation.
“I came [into the office] every day for a while,” Mrs Gammack said.
Volunteering at the bureau had introduced her to computer technology, she said.

Residents will still be able to access the service on its 0800 367-222 phone number or website or by contacting the Invercargill branch.