Former Harlow College student helps transform lives

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A FORMER apprentice at Harlow College is making a positive difference at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).

Twenty-year-old Chelsey Thomson joined the bureau three years ago and is now Recruitment Officer at Harlow, where she manages paid staff and volunteers.

Image baby Ceile Brown

Recruitment officer, Chelsey Thomson and volunteer Maher Jarkas

The main aim of the CAB is to offer free, non-biased advice, given by trained advisors and professionals. It covers issues such as debt, divorce, housing and legal problems.

Main funder is the local authority, but it also gets donations from fundraising events and sponsorships and relies heavily on volunteers.

Chelsey began with the bureau whilst studying an NVQ apprenticeship in Business and administration, where she worked one day a week as a receptionist at the offices. She said ‘I can’t explain that feeling of helping people and being there to support them.’

Image by Ceile Brown

The CAB, located in the town centre

Maher Jarkas, 57, is a volunteer at the centre, after moving to Harlow two years ago. After working as an engineer in the Middle East, he wanted to do something completely different, and also to give back to the community.

Being a volunteer for the Bureau has the main advantage of ‘beefing up your CV’ says Maher, and going through such an extensive training programme means he is set to deal with the variety of people and issues that arise.

‘It’s extremely rewarding, and I’d recommend it to everyone’ Maher says.

The Bureau is open 10 am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. There is also a Law clinic, where local solicitors offer free legal support. For more details phone 0344 477 0808.

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Ceile Brown

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