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Why volunteer with Citizens Advice?

It’s great that you're interested in finding out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice.

Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and bring with them different skills and experiences. Local Citizens Advice and Witness Service volunteers get involved with the service for different reasons and do a variety of roles. One things they have is common is that they find volunteering to be enjoying and rewarding.

Find out more about the experiences of some of our local Citizens Advice and Witness Service volunteers, and see what our volunteers shared with us for Volunteers' Week 2022.

Liz is a Witness Service court volunteer at Poole magistrates court. She also works as a part time Law Professor in London.

"Since becoming a Witness Service volunteer I have learned how to be completely independent, non-judgmental and a really good listener.

I have never volunteered before but decided on the Witness Service as it fits nicely around my teaching.

My main role is to meet and greet witnesses and to support them for the duration of the day. I go through their paperwork, take them to look around the courtroom and generally try to help them feel at ease.

An integral part of my role is listening to witnesses when they speak. Not passive listening, really listening to them.”

For me, this role as is really rewarding and also allows you to meet so many new people. To do this role I think you have to be genuine, compassionate and be a really good listener.

“I wanted to help make a difference to people’s lives and gain valuable experience.”

Kyle is a Generalist Adviser at Citizens Advice Newcastle. He joined Citizens Advice 3 years ago as a volunteer whilst working full time.

“I joined Citizens Advice because it has got a good reputation, it is a trusted and well-known name and has good social values.

I am still working in retail but I used to be a trade union representative and had experience in advising and representing people. I wanted to help make a difference to people’s lives and gain valuable experience.

I volunteer at least once a week depending on my shifts at work. I give face to face advice in areas such as benefits and energy and signpost to other agencies when is more appropriate. The best thing is making a difference and learning new things. Citizens Advice provides opportunities for training and alongside my volunteering at Citizens Advice I have also completed my certificate in Information, Advice or Guidance.

To anyone thinking of volunteering at Citizens Advice Kyle says…

“Nobody gets anywhere in life being shy…you need to take the step forward. We need people with various experiences and skills to promote a better service. There will be times when it gets hard but no matter the outcome you become better, smarter and more aware of how things work.”

"There are people from all walks of life but we feel we are all in the same boat. It is so safe!”

Kathleen is a generalist adviser at Citizens Advice Newcastle. She volunteers with various charities and has been volunteering with Citizens Advice for 7 years.

“I was very closed-in while caring for my husband and I wanted to volunteer. I started giving people food at a foodbank and I would listen to stories. I am on benefits myself but wanted to know more to be able to help people in desperate need. I applied to be a volunteer at Citizens Advice to learn more and different things. I still volunteer in other charities but I volunteer at Citizens Advice 1 day a week and I absolutely love it!

Volunteering gave me the confidence to help people. You surprise yourself with how much you can learn and I feel good that I live in the area and I am helping my own community.

Volunteering has helped me with my mental health. It makes me get up, get ready and go out. I feel really good going in and I had a confidence boost for being accepted at Citizens Advice. I can help Citizens Advice and they help me- it is a 2-way thing.

To anyone thinking of volunteering, Kathleen says:

“I absolutely love it- go for it as you do not know what it is like until you take that step! There is no point thinking “I wish I had done it” later on. You will get the training needed and you do not give advice on your own- you have support from the supervisors. It’s good for your self-esteem. I feel confident and supported all the time.”

“Volunteering is a positive opportunity to demonstrate, develop and discover your strengths and skills”

Arminder started as a volunteer at Citizens Advice in 2018 and now divides the time as a paid member of staff in the Debt team, and as a volunteer Generalist Adviser for Citizens Advice Sandwell-Walsall.

“When I applied for a voluntary opportunity with Citizens Advice, I was a student wanting to find a long-term career opportunity. I felt I could apply what I was studying and gain experience to help me with my career progression.
Prior to volunteering I worked in retail from general assistant to a manager and I felt I could use my management experience, organisational and customer service skills in making a difference.

I started supporting clients attending the walk-in service on a reception desk, before progressing to generalist advice. I now provide debt support as part of the team working from mobile units as a paid member of staff. I still volunteer as a generalist adviser both face to face and on the telephone.

To anyone thinking of volunteering, Arminder says:

“Never think twice about it and once given the opportunity, take advantage of as many opportunities to advise clients to develop professionally. Gain the opportunity to demonstrate a good level of commitment, to wanting to be part of a positive journey and believe in it. Take everything as constructive and always pay attention to training and learning opportunities.

Why not have a go at our short quiz to find out which area of volunteering in local Citizens Advice or Witness Service you might be interested in?

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