Six weeks of reassuringly thorough training both in person and online, plus sessions observing the team in action but here I was, the Adviceline phone was ringing and it was now my turn to answer it. 

I admit I was scared, I had no idea who was on the other end of the line or what their query might be, and I had a sudden fear that everything I’ve learnt would vanish when put to the test!

I needn’t have worried, firstly because the training did kick in but more so because the client on the other end of the call has contacted us for a reason, they want to talk and invariably have a query that wants an answer, so the stilted, scripted conversation I feared became very human and personal.

I would relate the volunteer advisor role to that of a well-trained GP receptionist, we are not being asked to diagnose or preform complex treatment but we do need to ask all the right questions to truly understand the issue and then seek the best course of action with the help of the supervisors.  I am in awe of the encyclopaedic knowledge of the people around me. It is like human Google in action!

I’m still very new and I have a lingering nervousness every time the phone rings but I am assured that this is part of the process and it’s just about getting some ‘miles on the clock’ but I’m enjoying it. 

I love learning more about the community I am part of and it is a great feeling to know you have helped someone in someway when you end the call. A moment’s satisfaction before the phone rings again.  

Find out more about volunteering at Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire.

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