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Rotary: Looking closer to home for help

By David Porter

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Following last week's meeting when members heard about the charitable work done in Africa by the Scottish-based 500 Miles charity, this week's get-together was along similar lines but moving from 'Foreign Affairs' to 'Home Affairs'.

CAB Covid support
CAB Covid support

As member Jim McColl explained: "Our guest speaker this time was Claire Christie from the area Citizen's Advice Bureau, a charitable, independent organisation covering north-west Aberdeenshire.

"Claire was to tell a similar story although I am not comparing like with like.

"As well as the weather, Malawi and Scotland are very different with respect to their social structure but no matter, basic human difficulties still exist.

"Got a problem – no money to pay bills and feed yourself and a family, unable to pay existing debts, nowhere to live, no job, you name it, the message from Claire was quite simple – get in touch."

The aims of the service are in the title – staff and volunteers of the Citizen's Advice Bureau are there to help point you in the right direction and in some instances help solve your problem.

Quite often the problem is simple – people may not know how to go about it! CAB will help.

Jim continued: "Just listening to the statistics, it is not surprising to learn that many of the difficulties have been intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"For example, our local unemployment level is more acute than the Scottish average.

"In itself that creates a host of problems – how to feed a family when their is no income being the classic.

"In recent weeks, the efforts of our Rotary Club to remain informed have been highlighted and indeed some of the problems have received our help physically and financially.

"This,despite the difficulty in conducting fund-raising activities, I think for example of the Glee Club.

"We haven't struck a musical note or heard a new joke from George Ross for over a year now.

"In that time, we would have added to our coffers quite a significant sum but this is not seen as a profit-making exercise.

"We receive a donation for our efforts from local clubs and societies and return it in full to needy people and organisations.

He continued: "On a selfish note, what do we get out of it?

"Quite simply – satisfaction for the help we can give and as a bonus,companionship and fun.

"There were several members keen to know more about CAB – for example where does the funding come from?.

"Answer – from Citizen's Advice Scotland, Central Government for specific projects but no core funding though Local Authorities can help as do voluntary bodies for specific projects."

Peter Donaldson offered a vote of thanks to Claire taking the opportunity to emphasise the enormity of the problem with over 4000 cases tackled in the past 12 months.

President Kay Diack then proceeded with any other business, top priority given to a discussion as to how we would celebrate World Rotary Day on February 23.

Light up the Town Hall? Aye, maybe! - Take over a shop window display in Market Place? Aye maybe!

Be prepared for a surprise if you are out for your 'shop'.

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