Hi I'm Cath
'I started volunteering at Citizens Advice about 2 years ago after I retired from a career as an HR professional working within a wide range of sectors, including banking and IT.
I decided to try volunteering primarily as a way to keep my brain active. I wanted an opportunity that allowed me to give something back to the community, and something with a social aspect that would bring me in contact with other volunteers.
After following the in-house Adviser Training course, I qualified in September 2016 as a General Adviser and now spend one day per week offering Debt advice and one day offering general advice on a wide range of issues.
Citizens Advice has a strong culture of supporting volunteer learning and development was one of the reasons I wanted to become a Volunteer Rep. I have transferred and enhanced the skills developed during my career to offer support for our diverse team of volunteers to enhance their employability, build on existing skills or simply to meet new people. Part of the Rep's responsibility is also to provide a volunteer voice to the Board of Trustees at their meetings, which gives me an opportunity to observe and understand the direction and strategy of the charity.
The primary benefit of volunteering for me is the variety of issues we see on a daily basis. It gives me huge personal satisfaction to work with clients, who may be very vulnerable and distressed, to give them the advice they need to improve their situation. Being part of national charity that is able to provide locally tailored support but also lobby for change at a national level is very exciting.
Being an Adviser and Rep does come with responsibility, but there is a strong culture of guidance and support at a local level so you are never left isolated. I would recommend Citizens Advice to anyone considering volunteering with us and encourage you to come and have a look at the wide range of roles available.'
Hi I'm Jackie
'I volunteer for My Options at The Hub in Horsehay. I run craft sessions with small groups of customers. When I have time I also volunteer at Blists Hill.
Volunteering gives you opportunities to work with organisations that are of interest to you or that you feel are important. When trying to return to work after many years caring for children and a young adult I found I had very low self- confidence. Volunteering helped me to get out of the house, meet people, gain new skills and gave me a sense of purpose and improved my confidence. Volunteering at Blists Hill and previously at Shrewsbury Museum enabled me to help promote and support local history which is very important to me. Volunteering at The Hub gives me great pride as I feel I am supporting people to develop usable skills whilst encouraging their enjoyment of art and crafts. I get so much enjoyment from the customers there and have learnt a lot of new people skills. It also helps me to think about things and how to approach tasks from other people's perspective.
Volunteering improves my skills and self-confidence. It gives me time with people I may not have met. It gives me the chance to work in places and doing roles that I would like to have as employment but probably would never have the chance to.'
Hi I'm Jason and my job is a volunteer.
'I'm from the local Donnington area, where I am a street Champion. I've doing this for 2 to 3 years.
Volunteering keeps me busy and gets me out of the house.
I know I don't get paid but I like doing it.
It's very interesting and I have lots of fun talking to people in the community.
If we didn't have Street Champions in our local area, nobody would pick the rubbish up. Volunteering has built up my confidence so I can take part in the community.'
Hi I'm Kerry
'I work full time for Telford and Wrekin Council. For the last 21 years I have also volunteered on a Saturday afternoon for Shropshire Child Contact Centres.
Child Contact Centres provide a safe, friendly and neutral environment where children can meet a parent or other family members they might not otherwise see.
I volunteer to make a difference to children's lives. I believe children should be able to have contact with both parents/grandparents/siblings in a safe place and by facilitating supported contact, we can do this.
Being a volunteer I make a difference, we are a stepping stone to improving relationships which I feel proud of. Ongoing training ensures my skills and knowledge are up to date and volunteering supports my personal and professional development.'
Hi I'm Noreen
'When I was a nursery assistant I realised that the Asian women and children had nowhere to go, so I started the Noor Women group about 2 and half years ago. The group was formed for the health and wellbeing of women and children, and to bring the community together. We meet every Monday at Arleston Community centre in term time and we do lots of activities including walking, yoga and other physical activities, we also have English speaking courses. The group has over 40 members now.
I also volunteer at the Equal Centre next to the Regent Street Mosk, to give English lessons for women and support their education.
I have also volunteered as a translator to support families from the community. Volunteering gives me a nice feeling. "When someone says thank you, it's out of this world."'
Hi I'm Stewart
'I started volunteering at the Citizens Advice in Telford about 4 years ago. I'm a local resident, having lived and worked in the Telford area all of my life. I am an ex-coal miner of 30 years - I'm retired but still work providing Health and Safety consultancy for Civil Engineering organisations.
I volunteer as an Adviser for 2 days a week in the offices at Tan Bank in Wellington. I provide advice on range of subjects including benefits, employment, relationships, housing, immigration, legal and financial matters. I recently qualified as an Advisor and have taken the opportunity to specialise in providing debt advice.
When I told my family 4 years ago that I wanted to try volunteering at Citizens Advice they were quite surprised and were not sure how an ex-coal miner would fit in! New volunteers are supported by dedicated training co-ordinators and are given the opportunity to shadow a wide range of roles including Reception, Advice, Administration and Telephone Support. I quickly found that my experience I developed through my union at work, and other local volunteering that I undertake with local history groups and freemasonry societies was transferable to the Advisor role. I started Advisor training and after 15 months I qualified as a General Advisor.
Volunteering at Citizens Advice is very rewarding as the help and outcomes we provide are so clear and tangible. The advice work is varied and keeps me mentally fit and occupied and has allowed me to develop new friendships with other volunteers who share a hugely diverse range of backgrounds and skills. I have always considered myself a 'people person' and enjoy being able to provide a supportive and confidential service to local people from across the area. There is no cost to me apart from the time and passion I bring to the role, as all my travel costs are covered and the charity provides free training that ends with a recognised qualification.
If you want to meet new people and are looking for a new challenge, lifelong learning, and a chance to provide real support for the local community and develop some new skills, I recommend you come and have a chat and a taster of the opportunities we provide.'
'We are the Telford and Wrekin Young People's forum. We have been established for more than 5 years. We meet every 2 weeks at the Salvation Army in Oakengates. Through meetings and consultation, working with agencies and partnerships, we aim to influence change and development of services for young people. We support the UKYP members of the youth parliament.
We enjoy our meetings, making a difference, sharing points of views, having our say and shaping young minds and futures across Telford.
Volunteering with the group enhances our CV's by giving us experience and opportunity and confidence of working together and this makes us, stand out from the crowd.'