The establishment of the  new  Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) outreach satellite in partnership with Porirua Rotary, brings much needed information service to an area of Porirua which is high in deprivation and families with low incomes.   
The communities are mostly Maori, Pasifika and Cook Islands families, and many of the families are unable to access information from the CAB office located in the Porirua CBD.
because of the cost and lack of computers, devices, or language barriers. The access to information is further exacerbated because they may not own cars, and the cost of public transport is also a significant barrier for them.
 
In the COVID-19 pandemic world, the Citizens Advice Bureau has experienced an overwhelming increase in the demand for their services.  During the first wave of the lockdown Rotary Porirua was approached and  identified the need to support CAB with the establishment of this new satellite service which brings much needed information to the local community.
 
These communities require one-one in person contact which the CAB provides as this service is either difficult for them to access or no longer available from many government departments.
Due to this lack of information, families find themselves being left behind, often frustrated and unable to fully participate in society. Families often need assistance to  access information, support to locate the appropriate government forms as well as help to complete the appropriate forms and to understand the what and why of information requests from the departments on many occasions . 
 
CAB also provides the time and space that people need to work through problems and gain the knowledge and confidence to find a way through what they are encountering.
 
CAB’s objective is to prevent people from being disadvantaged through ignorance of their rights and obligations.  The satellite office in Porirua East helps to bridge the gap and provide the support for the local community.   CAB services are provided by volunteers who are trained in the programmes and continue to have ongoing training and professional development.
 
Much of the CAB service is for people in dire need of assistance with issues around food, housing, debt and income, family breakdowns, employment problems and immigration. The demand for the CAB service in Porirua East post COVID -19 is expected to increase due to job losses, poverty, and insecurity.
 
Other services provided by CAB include information sessions for new migrants and refugees.  They also host clinics for JPs, budget advisers and benefit advocates, and are the agent for St Anne’s Food Bank.
 
The Porirua Union and Community Health Service have provided rent-free accommodation for these offices. They believe their patients, many of whom are new migrants and refugees, would benefit from having easy access to the advice and support that CAB services.
 
According to CAB, the satellite service will build the capacity of the community by making information accessible for economic growth, entrepreneurial skills, community networking, creating work opportunities and developing communities who may experience poverty.
The access to technology will increase educational skills, use of technology, provide basic adult literacy services, reduce any language barrier, and strengthen the community.
 
From the Porirua Rotary perspective, this is what Rotary is about.  The Team members all of whom are volunteers worked together with CAB volunteers over a few months to bring this satellite office to reality.
 
This satellite office ticks the goals of Rotary’s Foundation to provide this basic information service to improve essential services for families, mothers, and children. Families meet with the CAB volunteer staff to find information they need. This is expected to have a positive impact on access to information on threatening diseases, health related matters and poverty challenges.
 
Rotary supports peace building in communities and this service provides relevant information to direct and support decision making which may prevent conflict in the families and communities.
 
Educating and mobilising communities is another key area of Rotary.  This information service will help educate families and therefore contribute to the prevention of the spread of major diseases more especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.’
 
The satellite office is open two days a week and is located on 219 Bedford Street.