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Description of the role:

Our Volunteer Advisers make a real difference to the lives of people in Mid Suffolk. The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on our community, and people continue to turn to Citizens Advice for help with the consequences of coronavirus and other problems. We anticipate that many people in Mid Suffolk will need our support over the coming months and years. We are looking for new volunteers to join our team to help people find a way forward.

The role involves:
- Interviewing clients, letting the client explain their enquiry and helping the client to set priorities.
- Finding, interpreting and communicating the relevant information and exploring options and implications in order that the client can come to a decision.
- Acting, where necessary, on behalf of the client, negotiating, drafting or writing letters or making appropriate referrals.
- Completing clear and accurate case records.
- Recognising the root causes of problems and participating in taking appropriate action.
- Keeping up to date on important issues by attending the appropriate training and by essential reading.

We are currently providing advice over the phone, via email and via video calls. When government guidance allows, we plan to provide face to face advice in a fully risk assessed covid-secure environment.

Our Advisers are at the heart of our service and they make a difference to the lives of our clients on a daily basis.

Opportunity Activities: Advice, Information and Support, Community Work, Finance Work
Availability required:


What skills are needed?

You don’t need specific qualifications or experience to train for the role. You’d need:

- an ability to look at complex information and extract what is important
- to be polite and good at listening
- to be familiar with using keyboard skills and searching the internet
- to be able to input data accurately
- a good level of literacy and numeracy
- to be open-minded and not judge clients
- to enjoy helping people.

Some of the training for the Adviser role can be done at home to minimise social contact, so ideally you would have a home computer with internet access.

100% of our volunteers would recommend Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk as a place to volunteer (People Survey 2019/20). Our volunteers say that they get a lot of personal satisfaction from helping those in need, and like the camaraderie of volunteering here.

You could do this role if you are available to volunteer for two half days or one full day a week for at least 12 months.

What skills will be learned / gained?

Working within a team
Working with clients, who are sometimes vulnerable, to make a difference to their situation
Interviewing skills
Finding, interpreting and communicating relevant information
Negotiating, drafting and writing letters
Communication skills, both with colleagues and clients
IT skills, including Word, Outlook and Citizens Advice computer systems

DBS Check Required: No
Driving Licence Required: No
Does this role have age restrictions?: No
Mandatory training required for role: Yes
Details of mandatory training:

Volunteer advisers receive full training in the skills needed to help people deal with their problems and learn how to find the information the client needs from our extensive database. Volunteers are supported and supervised as they begin to give advice and will get feedback and development opportunities throughout their time with Citizens Advice.

Extra information:

Volunteers expenses are covered up to a 20 mile round trip of the Advice Centre in Stowmarket.
We provide a parking permit for the public car park for drivers.

Our volunteer Advisers work in a covid-secure office. Where relevant, an Adviser will have a personal risk assessment to identify any measures that can be taken to improve their safety.

About the Opportunity Host Organisation

Host Organisation: Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk
Organisation Profile:

Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on any issue including, welfare benefits, money and debt, employment, housing, family and relationships, health, education, legal and consumer rights.