Mendip CAb bids farewell to its manager of 14 years
Mendip CAB bid farewell to its manager of 14 years on Monday.
Supporters of Mendip CAB marked the retirement of manager Sonia Pike at the charity’s AGM, held at Wells Town Hall on Monday.
The AGM also heard that benefits enquiries had for the first time overtaken enquiries about debt as Government welfare reforms begin, and that one of the charity’s longest serving volunteers, Michael Sackett, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Sonia took over the role of manager in 1999 after three changes of manager in as many years. Funding was £127,000, money generated for clients was £500,000 a year and debts managed were £1million. The charity had about 50 volunteers. For a while the Glastonbury office was closed and the Shepton headquarters had to be temporarily relocated.
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Funding is now around £600,000 per year. There are more than 100 trained volunteers, money generated for clients is now £3.5 million a year, and debt managed is an unprecedented £18 million, up once again this year.
Glastonbury CAB reopened in 2001. In 2004, Frome CAB merged with Mendip CAB. Despite cuts to funding, the service was maintained. After eight years in a temporary home at the Amulet and much additional voluntary work, the current Shepton headquarters opened in the Market Place in 2008.
Sonia’s success in partnership working has led to work with large statutory bodies such as the new Health and Wellbeing Boards and the National Lottery as well as small, local voluntary groups. Mendip CAB is given glowing reviews by Citizens Advice, the national body for the service, and works closely with the bureaux in surrounding areas.
Malcolm Williams, chair of the charity’s trustees, said: “Sonia’s selfless devotion to the service and her team has been exemplary and will be sorely missed. Throughout her time, great emphasis on giving value for the funds received has been at the corner of her work in the community. She put enormous unpaid hours into networking with many partner agencies. This has been to the benefit not only of our CAB but to the other CABs in Somerset with whom she developed very good and productive relationships.”
This year’s guest speaker at the AGM was Stuart Brown, chief executive of Mendip District Council, who spoke on partnership working for the community.
A new manager has been appointed and will start in the next week.
Pic in wire: Sonia Pike
Caption: Malcolm Williams chair of Mendip CAB with manager Sonia Pike