‘All volunteers make a vital contribution – not just those on the front line’

Posted on the 1st June 2022

‘I am more confident and gained lots of experience…and when you help someone it feels like a firework inside!’

Citizens Advice Volunteer

For over 83 years, Citizens Advice has provided advice and information to give people the knowledge and the confidence to find their way forward, whoever they are, and whatever their problem. For all that time, volunteers have been central to our work.

When most people think of Citizens Advice volunteers, they picture our brilliant advisers. Across our network of local Citizens Advice, local offices recruit volunteers and train them in the complex issues they will need to know to help people – from benefits to debt. This vital service, whether delivered in person, or increasingly via phone or video call, provides a lifeline to communities at all times, but even more so when we are experiencing a cost of living crisis and rising poverty.

Local offices involve volunteers in all kinds of ways, from admin support to fundraising, social media support to research and campaigns. They get stuff done, but just as importantly they bring different backgrounds, outlooks, and experiences into our work.

Citizens Advice volunteers group photo

‘It’s an opportunity to gain valuable experience, skills and learn from people as well as make great friends!’

Citizens Advice Volunteer

National and local volunteering

As a national organisation we also engage teams of volunteers in criminal courts across England and Wales, through the Witness Service. Our volunteers provide emotional support and practical information to anyone coming to give evidence, whether for the prosecution or defence. They turn what could have been a frightening experience, with processes, conventions and rules few of us are aware of, into something understandable and manageable, meaning that victims and witnesses can give their evidence with confidence.

It’s important to appreciate that all volunteers are making a contribution. It’s easy to see those ‘on the front line’, directly supporting clients or witnesses, as making the real difference. However, everything our volunteers do enables us collectively to provide that support. A receptionist ensures that there’s a warm welcome and a positive experience for clients. A researcher helps identify issues that we can campaign on, either nationally or locally, to make important policy changes. A trustee provides strategic direction to the service. It’s that mutual contribution that should be celebrated – countless individual gifts of time and effort that ultimately enable us to support clients and witnesses when they need us most.

Citizens Advice volunteer

‘I volunteered to help others, but didn’t realise how much I would get back!’

Citizens Advice Witness Service Volunteer

Thank you volunteers!

We’re really pleased to have this public opportunity to say thank you to all Citizens Advice volunteers, wherever they are. Just about anyone reading this will know of someone who has been helped by Citizens Advice, and it’s impossible to calculate the impact you’ve made, particularly in these exceptionally difficult last couple of years. You can’t put a price on the joy of seeing someone’s Universal Credit appeal succeed, or a victim of crime having their voice heard in court. All we can say is you should be as proud of being a Citizens Advice volunteer as we are to work with you all.

Jennie Smith

Head of Volunteering at Citizens Advice

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