From debt problems to dog clipping, staff at the Hawick office of Roxburgh & Berwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau have heard it all.
Last week, staff, including volunteers, gathered at the branch’s office in Towerdykeside, for an open day to mark its 40 years of service to the local community and to thank manager, Pat Buckley, who was stepping down after 20 years.
Pat says that with retirement age just around the corner and desperate to spend more time with her grandchildren in the south of England, she felt it was time to call it a day.
“Every day has been different and the people I have worked with have been wonderful,” she told The Southern ahead of being presented with a bouquet by staff.
She added: “When I started with the bureau here in Hawick, families were more settled. Now, there are more lone parents and the benefits system is incredibly complex.
“Debt problems, however, still make up about half our workload.”
When the Hawick office opened its doors in January, 1974, the social landscape was very different, with national strikes leading to a state of emergency being declared.
Four decades later and CAB’s role is more vital than ever, with Roxburgh & Berwickshire CAB helping local people claim £2.5million in benefits during 2012-13.
Although stepping down as manager, Pat, originally from Birmingham, intends spending some time as a volunteer.
And it’s not all been doom and gloom. Asked about her oddest request, she told us: “It was summer and someone came into the office to ask where they could get their dog clipped as they were on holiday. They went away with a name and address quite pleased.”
Local Scottish Borders councillor, George Turnbull, praised both Pat and the branch, saying: “The CAB has made a lot of difference.
“In recent years with the recession, the biggest benefit of its free advice has been on debt, debt recovery and getting debts written off.”
And on Pat, he added: “She will be a huge miss.”