After 14 years of helping locals get the advice they need – Heather Thomas still says the best part of the job is never knowing what issue might walk through the door each day.
Heather has just been awarded a life membership to the Citizens Advice Bureau, which provides a wide range of free, confidential, independent information and advice to anyone in the community.
Since the Nelson bureau’s inception in 1984, only eight people have been awarded a life membership and only four of these have been awarded in the past decade.
Heather says one of the best parts about the work is that you never know what you’re going to be asked and there’s something new every day.
“We help people find the answers they need so they can get on with their lives.”
She has worn various hats during her time as a volunteer with the bureau – as a volunteer working with clients, sitting on the national board for eight years and serving as vice president for the national organisation for seven and a half years.
Heather says the team of 45 volunteers at Nelson’s bureau all have a heart for helping people and a passion for learning.
Bureau manager Megan Cole says Heather embodies the organisation’s giving values and is completely deserving of the rare award.
“Heather has always been totally, 100 per cent committed. She’s always generous with her time and skill set.”
That skill set is made up of 50 years of volunteering throughout the Nelson community, from school boards, Girl Guides, the Nelson Historical Society committee and even as a BMX club president as her grandson had an interest in the sport.
“I love the work, I’ve loved doing it,” she says.