Helping out at Citizens Advice gives you a warm glow, says volunteer

Jean Booth, gateway assessor at Eastbourne CAB SUS-160806-094234001
Jean Booth, gateway assessor at Eastbourne CAB SUS-160806-094234001

Volunteers at Citizens Advice Eastbourne have donated a huge £235,000 worth of their time in the year leading up to March 2016.

Alan Bruzon, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Eastbourne, is using Volunteers Week this week to thank the 66 volunteers who gave their time at the local charity over the last 12 months.

Citizens Advice volunteers support people face-to-face, over the phone and online email. Over the last 12 months they helped over 3,500 local people with

• Dealing with debt, designing payment plans and negotiating with lenders

• Improving people’s financial skills, for example by finding ways to cut fuel bills

• Standing up for people’s rights at work if they believe they have been bullied or unfairly dismissed

• Helping people claim their entitlements like sick pay and maternity pay

Volunteers also give their time in areas like IT, fundraising and administration.

After retiring from a career in teaching Jean still wanted to do something useful to help people. So she approached Citizens Advice Eastbourne and started training to be a volunteer Gateway Assessor in January 2014.

“I was unsure whether I had any useful skills, but I applied. From the start I received very thorough and supportive training, both with the technical aspects of using the computer systems and the approaches to helping clients over the phone and face to face. A few months later I received my Certificate of Competence. I now volunteer for two mornings a week.”

Jean helps many people in different ways, giving them the information they need to resolve their problem; signposting them to more appropriate sources of help or arranging an advice call back or face to face appointment.

“Since volunteering my confidence has grown. I am pleased when I have been able to help people to move forward towards a resolution. It’s the kind of work that gives you a warm glow!”

Mr Bruzon said, “It is thanks to the generosity of our volunteers that Citizens Advice Eastbourne is able to help people take control of their finances, claim entitlements like sick pay and protect their rights at work.

“There are many opportunities to volunteer at Citizens Advice and new volunteers are always welcome.”

Get in touch on 01323 413480 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/support-us/volunteering.

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