Volunteers donate £257,777 worth of time to Ipswich Citizens Advice

Volunteers Week a good time to thank volunteers

Volunteers at Ipswich Citizens Advice donated £257,777 worth of their time in the year up to April 2016. In total over 15,000 hours were worked by volunteers to support the advice needs of people in Ipswich and its surrounding districts.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Executive of Ipswich Citizens Advice, is using Volunteers Week (1 – 12 June 2016) to say a huge THANK YOU to the 75 volunteers who gave their time at the local charity over the last 12 months.

Citizens Advice volunteers support people face-to-face, over the phone and through email. Over the last 12 months they helped local people with over 17,000 issues, by:

  • Dealing with debt, designing payment plans and negotiating with lenders
  • Improving people’s financial skills, for example by finding ways to cut fuel bills
  • Standing up for people’s rights at work if they believe they have been bullied or unfairly dismissed
  • Helping people claim their entitlements like sick pay and maternity pay as well as disability and other benefits and tax credits
  • Helping people navigate their way through new benefits such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments
  • Volunteers also give their time in areas like campaigning, IT, fundraising, administration and governance.

One of our recently trained volunteers, Funmi, found out about Citizens Advice through a leaflet at a Children’s Centre in the town. She started volunteering in October 2015 as she wanted to do something productive with her time while her children are in nursery. Because Ipswich Citizens Advice can be quite flexible when volunteers can help out, Funmi has been able to become a key member of the Money Advice team.

“You get more than you bargain for when you volunteer at CAB. I have helped all sorts of clients. No two cases are the same and you never get bored! I am just waiting for my children to grow up and go to school so I can volunteer more hours and train into new roles.”

Philip is a retired businessman who has moved to Ipswich in part to help look after his grandchildren. To carve some time out for himself, he started volunteering with Ipswich Citizens Advice just over a year ago as an assessor.

“I enjoy problem-solving: piecing together the best next step from what the client is telling me and using the vast array of information available on the public information website. It is a great team – a huge amount of dedication with the right level of humour. It seems like a life-line for people in need, providing support and giving people confidence that they can take things forward with our help.”

Nicky Willshere and her team are encouraging people in Ipswich to get in touch about volunteering opportunities.

Nicky Willshere said:

Citizens Advice volunteers change lives.

“It is thanks to the generosity of our volunteers that Citizens Advice Ipswich is able to help people take control of their finances, claim entitlements like sick pay and protect their rights at work.”

“There are many opportunities to volunteer at Citizens Advice and new volunteers are always welcome.”

Twenty one thousand volunteers gave up their time across the Citizens Advice network last year. The national charity estimates its volunteers donate over £100 million worth of time each year across England and Wales. By working out how much it would cost for paid employees to do their work Citizens Advice is able to estimate the value of hours donated by volunteers.

People interested in volunteering at their local Citizens Advice get in touch on 01473 219772 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/support-us/volunteering.