As many households face a difficult winter, Citizens Advice is seeing a higher demand for advice and charitable support, and urgently need more volunteers. The charity is urging people to plan their New Year’s resolution early!
Citizens Advice across Oxfordshire supports over 27,000 people every year with free, independent and confidential advice from trained advisors.
The number of people seeking debt advice in September 2021 increased by 11% on the month before and is now 20% higher than this time last year. Low income households face significant extra budgetary pressure in Spring 2022 as the energy price cap is predicted to increase by a further £383. Added to this, 5 million households had the £20 Universal Credit uplift removed last month.
Volunteers are asked to contribute a minimum of 7-8 hours per week, which could be in the local office, working with a community partner or working from home.
Our charity is looking for:
- volunteers to help with advice as part of the Benefits in Place service. Volunteers can work from home whilst providing people with initial support. This makes a huge difference as the volunteers help to move people quickly from their initial enquiry, to advice, and onto wider holistic support as appropriate. They could also work in community settings, assisting people to access online advice and helping them make appointments with Apply here.
- volunteers to help with administration, provide people with generalist advice, client support and volunteer recruitment. Apply here
No advice experience necessary as full training will be provided. Training begins in January 2022.
Volunteers are often looking for new ways to gain valuable experience and enhance their skills, or to enjoy the opportunity to work with and meet different people. They find it rewarding to support local people and make a difference to their lives.
Andreea Let, Operations Assistant at Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire said: “Benefits in Place volunteers find it’s a great first role as the volunteers deal with the clients quickly. The role offers the flexibility of volunteering as much as they like, and manage their own hours via a shared calendar. When volunteers are ready, they can join the next level training programme. Benefits in Place aims to support people to reduce health inequalities, reduce foot traffic to GP surgeries and ensure the service is more targeted to people in need.”
Pat Coomber-Wood, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire said: “The whole nation has seen the incredible work done by volunteers during the pandemic. Many people come forward in droves to help deliver food and medicine, assist at vaccination clinics and a host of other activities. It is wonderful that the value of volunteering has been highlighted because since the start of the Second World War, Citizens Advice volunteers have been helping people in crisis every day. We rely on a wonderful team of people willing to give their time and skills to deliver advice to people experiencing a wide range of social problems such as money worries and debt, or family problems. We could not accomplish all that we do each year to improve the lives of the people in our local communities without our wonderful volunteers. They are indeed unsung heroes!”