A CHARITY worker has retired as a benefits adviser after ten years seeing her workload escalate.

Tribute was paid to Cathy Hipsey at a retirement party held by Tavistock Area Support Services (TASS) in the town to say thanks for her support for hundreds of people.

She was presented with flowers and gifts by TASS manager Holly Stirling. Holly said: “We’re all sorry to see Cathy go. But she deserves her retirement. She has worked really hard and built up a reputation as a patient advisor who is careful and thoughtful about what is the most helpful advice she can give to that particular person, so it’s tailored them and meets their specific circumstances. She’s been conscientious and dedicated to TASS aims and objectives and to doing her best for every person that come to us for help.”

During covid Cathy also did a lot of community work and built up a strong relationship with people she helped and other partner organisations. She helped with TASS befriending service and other outreach work with vulnerable, disabled, older and otherwise isolated people in their homes as a volunteer.

“Cathy not only brings her expertise, but also herself through added extras, to make it more of a personal service. The community will also miss her. Although we hope she will volunteer in the future perhaps.’’

Cathy supports vulnerable people and those with multiple needs by helping them work out what they need to help them lead as much of an independent life as possible. She is an outreach worker for Tavistock Area Support Services which means meeting and visiting people of all ages with mobility and other issues in their homes to work with them to assess what matters most to make the most of their lives.

TASS volunteer Mary Stewart said: “I’ve known Cathy for many years during her involvement with TASS. She helped me in her role as an adviser with applying for a Blue Badge for disabled parking after I had a stroke. She has earned her rest. She’s a lovely lady.’’

Cathy said: “It’s been really lovely being thanked by so many people, friends, colleagues and volunteers have all come along to wish me well. I will still be involved ion TASSZ in some way as a volunteer, but I need a rest first to catch my breath. I have grandparent duties which need more attention and I will be making more time to catch up with friends. I’ve met iso many wonderful people while I’ve been with TASS. It’s been so rewarding to know my advice has helped improve people’s lives and made a real difference including giving people more confidence too make the most of life and the best of themselves.’’

Her benefits advice has helped put money in the pockets of people she advised, thereby boosting the local economy by increasing spending power. Her workload has risen from seeing one or two people a month ten years ago, to recently helping 20 to 30 people a month.

She joined TASS to help organise its befriending service which provides a regular home visitor to give isolated residents social contact, then outreach work and now More recently she began working mostly one-to-one with people.