Our volunteers providing information, guidance, advice and support to the people of Wokingham are at the core of our service. They empower people by helping those in need. This can range from helping someone understand their rights and options on the way forward, or assisting someone with a more complex issue which they are struggling to handle.
Our volunteers are supported by other volunteers with many years experience in Assessment and Advice roles, by our Advice Session Supervisors and other staff including our Training Manager. Following the induction which all our new starters attend, you will start on our national Adviser Learning Programme, guided through this by our Training Manager and other colleagues. One of the biggest skills for these roles are to be able to communicate effectively with others. Interviewing clients to assess their needs, and using our internal databases of information to help find the right options.
We currently provide our services face-to-face at our drop-ins, via telephone on our AdviceLine and through email. Some of our volunteers interview clients at assessment, the first port of call, for between 15 minutes and half an hour. Our Advisers deal with more complex problems over an hour appointment or sometimes more than once.
Our Receptionists are the front of house for people accessing our face-to-face services. They provide an important role, informing clients about what services we provide, helping them to fill in any appropriate paperwork and assisting our advisers with handling rooms, calendars and other information resources. They enter clients on to our database and ensure details are up to date. Some volunteers stay on reception and really enjoy the role, and some begin to provide advice and information services once they have settled in to the organisation. We are flexible!
All of our volunteer opportunities play an important part in delivering our services. We also recognise that people bring a variety of skills to our charity, so we are always happy to have a conversation about adapting or creating a role that can benefit from your experience. We are particularly looking for support with admin (archiving, shredding, helping with writing mail), Outcomes volunteer (who will contact clients a few months after they have visited, to see how they are progressing with their issue) and other assistance you may be able to offer. Some volunteers help to promote our service, raising the profile in our local communities to help people know how they can use our services, how they can volunteer with us and promoting local and national campaigns. Our volunteers might arrange events or talks, write press releases, use social media and so on.
Our research and campaigns volunteers identify trends in the problems experienced by our clients, to see where policies and practices are negatively affecting our clients. Our volunteers may do research, such as client surveys, to find out more about the issues, and then organise a campaign to bring about change. This might be writing a press release for the local paper, writing to an elected official like a local councillor, holding a public awareness raising event, or using social media. Volunteers may also get involved in campaigns with national Citizens Advice, such as Universal Credit.
Some of our volunteers are involved in recruiting and supporting other volunteers. This might involve creating leaflets and posters to promote volunteering, using social media or going to a volunteering fair. Some of our volunteers help other volunteers with using IT. We aim to be as inclusive as possible so we also have some volunteers who help other volunteers with practical support where needed, such as typing up notes or making telephone calls.
We are a local registered charity reliant on money from the local Council, companies, charitable trusts and individuals. Fundraising volunteers help with organising events or other activities to raise money, create presentations or newsletters and look for other fundraising opportunities to continue our important work.
Our Citizens Advice trustees are volunteers who use their skills, knowledge and experience to help guide and govern our Charity. They work with the Chief Executive and other staff to shape strategy and give us direction.
We hope we have, but just to assure you - no experience is necessary, we will support you in your role and we offer a warm-hearted friendly office environment - with a rewarding feeling at the end of the day knowing you have contributed to a hard working local charity.
We will also be hosting a number of drop-in days at our Wokingham office in January and February 2019.
We would love to hear from you.