The man who has helped countless Cumbernauld people free themselves from sometimes drastic personal problems is retiring after a quarter of a century in the job.
Ian Eadie, manager of the town’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, was the volunteer who was so obviously good at steering people through legal minefields to safety that he was offered the top post.
These days the effects of welfare cuts – for example the chaos caused by the bedroom tax - are a main issue, accounting for a sizeable proportion of the weekly caseload.
But he’s the first to say the Citizen’s Advice Bureau covers a vast array of problems, particularly concerned with debt – which can affect anyone.
Back in the 70’s the administration was constrained to use normal phones and paper files, while these days vast amounts of data are available at the click of a mouse – although it seems the essence of the job hasn’t changed that much.
“We can see 4,000 or more people here in a typical year”, says Ian, “and we could not manage that sort of volume without our tremendous staff – we’ve 13 volunteers, four trainees and five paid staff.”
He doesn’t say so explicitly, but those numbers – and the sometimes complex individual case loads which they represent – make CAB nothing less than an essential service.
“There were times in the past when we struggled to get through the financial year,” says Ian, “whereas now we’ve been getting continued funding from North Lanarkshire Council, which is really essential.”
Now Ian is looking forward to unwinding just a little and enjoying some golf – but seems unlikely to leave the scene entirely.
“When I started as a volunteer I soon thought ‘this is for me’ and was hooked,” he said, “and meeting so many great people – and working with greater colleagues – has made it all worthwhile.”