What do our volunteers do?

Volunteer“I get a real feeling of satisfaction from making a difference, especially for people less able to stand up for their rights.” Sheila

There are over 21,500 volunteers involved in the Citizens Advice service, performing a wide range of roles. We provide comprehensive training to those wishing to become Advisers or Gateway Assessors and no prior experience or qualifications are needed.

 

Here we describe what some of those roles involve. Please note, not all volunteer roles may be available.

Trustees

Because every CAB is a registered charity, each has its own board of trustees. Some trustee roles require specific skills but bureaux welcome people of all ages, backgrounds and experience to their trustee boards. This could be the voluntary role you are looking for to play a key role in a vital community organisation. As a CAB Trustee you would:

    • manage and plan the bureau’s overall strategic direction
    • act as employer for paid staff
    • manage the bureau’s finances
    • ensure the bureau complies with the law

Fund-Raisers

currently recruiting!

Are you an enthusiastic , creative and lively thinker who’s looking for a way of putting their skills to good use? If you are then I know some Friends who’d love to meet you!
But before I introduce you I want to tell you a bit more about them – It’s really really simple, they just get on and help people help people.
I think most of us like to help people but sometimes we don’t know what to do. Have you ever felt like that?
Maybe if you had some of the following :
Ability to work as part of a team
Enthusiasm and confidence
Approachable and friendly
Previous experience in attracting funding would be helpful but not essential
Ability to work on own initiative
Creative and lateral thinker

You wouldn’t have to feel like that, so let me tell you a little more . . .
We have all sorts of volunteers here. You see we have to because last year 8,104 people with 25,266 problems came to us for help. These sorts of client numbers mean we need a large number of good people volunteering for us. Obviously we need money to help with our costs and this is where you as a member of our fund-raising team would come in. We are looking for volunteers to join them in helping us help others.
So now you’ve come to the end of my little missive and in my mind’s eye I can see you sitting there, head at a slight angle, exciting ideas for raising money starting to fizz in your head.
Come and talk to us – you might even get a penny for your thoughts!

Reception

This role is an integral part of the session team, with the advice session supervisor actively supporting and keeping you informed about the session.

As a reception worker you will:

        • greet clients and other visitors
        • ensure clients know what is happening and how long they have to wait
        • explain the services available
        • point out and hand out leaflets, lists and self-help materials
        • monitor client numbers and waiting times
        • maintain the reception area
        • enter information into computer systems
        • answer the telephone

Specific qualifications and experience are not required to take on the reception role. You need to:

        • have a good manner when talking to people
        • have basic computing skills
        • have an understanding of, and commitment to, confidentiality

Information Guides

Information Guides play a key role in enabling clients to find the information that they need and/or to use the different facilities that are available, such as our kiosk, online PCs and leaflets. As an Information Guide you will:

        • actively promote the use of the kiosk/PCs
        • support clients using kiosk or PCs
        • help identify the correct leaflet, self-help resource or service provider
        • identify where a gateway assessment may be required

Specific qualifications and experience are not required to take on the role. You need to:

        • have a good manner when talking to people
        • have basic computing and good literacy skills
        • enjoy helping people
        • be friendly and approachable

Gateway Assessors

This is a dynamic and focused role. As a Gateway Assessor you will:

        • greet clients and explain the gateway assessment process
        • explore the client’s problem(s) and situation
        • record client numbers and issues
        • assess the risk/urgency of the client’s issue and their ability to deal with the problem themselves
        • identify the next step that needs to be taken
        • summarise the content of the interview for the client and explain what happens next
        • ensure clients know they can return if necessary
        • refer them to other agencies

Specific qualifications or experience are not required to train to be a Gateway Assessor. You need to:

        • be good at listening
        • have a good manner when talking to people
        • have basic computing skills
        • be open minded and non-judgemental
        • enjoy helping people

Advisers

Without our trained volunteer advisers we could not continue to meet the demand for advice. Our generalist advice service looks at a client’s situation holistically as opposed to looking at their problems in isolation from one another. Advisers see clients and provide advice in all the key areas including benefits, debt, housing and employment. Advisers are given free training, both formal and on-the-job. As a Citizens Advice adviser you would:

        • interview clients
        • help them negotiate with people such as creditors and service providers
        • draft letters
        • make phone calls on their behalf

Specific qualifications or experience are not required to train for the role. You need to:

        • be good at listening
        • have a good manner when talking to people
        • have basic computing skills
        • be open-minded and non-judgemental
        • be friendly and approachable

IT Support Co-ordinators

As an IT support volunteer you may be involved in a variety of areas, depending on your skills and the time you have available, for example:

        • supporting and training users in day-to-day use of IT systems
        • troubleshooting hardware and software problems
        • maintaining and developing networks
        • designing spreadsheets, databases and websites

Administrators

As a Citizens Advice volunteer administrator you would ensure the smooth running of a bureau including:

        • word processing
        • file management
        • arranging events
        • using databases and spreadsheets
        • answering emails and phone calls
        • updating local information
        • arranging appointments

Campaigning for Change

By using evidence collected from the clients the bureau helps, you could help bring about changes in local and national policies and services which can benefit everyone, even those who have never used a CAB. You would:

        • complete and collate evidence forms recording clients’ problems
        • identify and raise relevant issues in the bureau
        • train staff and volunteers in identifying issues and completing evidence forms
        • conduct research and write reports
        • get involved in media campaigning
        • liaise with other bureaux and agencies

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