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 volunteers 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 Citizens Advice is a registered charity, each has its own board of trustees. Some trustee roles require specific skills but we 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 Citizens Advice Trustee you would:

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

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Marketing & Communications Volunteer

If you enjoy creative writing, meeting new people, and are passionate about social justice then this could be the role for you!

As a Marketing and Communications Volunteer you will be a part of small team helping to give a voice to the organisation in the local community, raising awareness of what we do, the people we support, to raise vital funds, and more. You will be a brand ambassador for the organisation and can expect to take part in activities like:

  • Researching and developing stories for use on our website, social media and more
  • Producing engaging press releases and compelling social media material
  • Coordination and promotion of special events, campaigns and activities
  • Provide effective and efficient contributions to the Business Development & Marketing Manager
  • Working as part of a dedicated team – where every bit you do counts towards improving client lives, where the highest standards are the name of the game, and where you and your efforts are valued

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Reception

This role is an integral part of the session team, with the Duty 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

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Digital Support Volunteers

Digital Support Volunteers 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 a Digital Support Volunteer 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 an appointment 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

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Telephone Assessors

In order to become an Adviser we train volunteers as Assessors.  They help clients get the right help in the fastest time possible, assess people’s needs over the phone, and identify the most appropriate course of action. That might be self-help,  information, referral to a specialist organisation or an appointment with a Citizens Advice Adviser. As an Assessor you would:

  • explain the assessment process
  • explore the client’s problem(s) and situation
  • 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
  • record the case

Specific qualifications or experience are not required to train to be a Telephone 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-judgmental
  • enjoy helping people

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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-judgmental
  • be friendly and approachable

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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

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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

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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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Client Support Volunteers

Many of the organisation’s more vulnerable clients experience difficulty in implementing the advice that they are given. We have therefore introduced an enhanced service for these clients in which Client Support Volunteers will work closely with Advisers and their clients to:

  • Help with the completion of forms
  • Assist at tribunals and hearings
  • Make telephone calls or write letters on behalf of clients
  • Join with clients in attending meetings with officials
  • Monitor progress made by clients in implementing advice given

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