Tag Archives: volunteering

Press Release ~ To mark National Student Volunteering Week, Citizens Advice Ipswich thanks University of Suffolk law student volunteers for their valuable contribution to our advice team

Citizens Advice Ipswich is celebrating National Student Volunteering week (10-15 February) by thanking the University of Suffolk Law Students who use their time to help people face problems that may seem complicated or intimidating as part of our Advice Team at Tower Street.

As part of a partnership, a number of University of Suffolk Law Students spend a day a week with Citizens Advice in Ipswich training into advice roles. This gives them the chance to put their study into practice and gain experience of how the law affects people in their everyday lives.

Training Officer and Students

The scheme is a WIN WIN partnership – the students gain valuable work experience and Citizens Advice get to help more clients by expanding our volunteer workforce. Over 70 clients have been helped to date by the student volunteers since October.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer said:

“Not only do the students gain valuable experience which stands them in good stead for their careers, but our volunteers here love having them around with the passion and commitment they show and the perspective they bring to the team. Long live the partnership with University of Suffolk!”

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Reilly Willis, Lecturer in Law at University of Suffolk added:

‘We are pleased to be able to offer our students this module, called Clinical Legal Practice, as part of the Law Degree at University of Suffolk. It gives them valuable client facing experience and enhances their communication skills which will be great when applying for jobs or further studies. In this module the students have been putting the law into practice in a wide range of scenarios and developing their client contact skills. They will compile a portfolio of legal issues and consider the law as it impacts on peoples’ everyday lives as part of their academic studies.’

Don’t just listen to us, though, this is how former volunteer advisers say volunteering with us at Citizens Advice Ipswich helped them get on with their careers in law and finance …

Although I have not pursued a career within the legal sector after studying law, I have very recently been promoted to a regulated role within the finance sector (Mortgage and Protection Manager). The time I spent volunteering at the CAB helped me immensely, as it was the first time I was in the live environment helping and advising customers with their needs and budgeting. Without CAB I’m not too sure I would have started a career in the banking sector.

Lworking for a High Street Bank

Volunteering at Citizens Advice was one of the best choices I have made, as I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who are passionate about helping the people who are in need of it. I have gained invaluable interpersonal skills when advising clients. I would urge anyone who wishes to pursue a career within the legal profession to volunteer.

Tcurrently working as a claims assessor for a firm of solicitors

I found that my experience at Citizens Advice was incredibly useful at developing legal skills that are not acquired as part of a typical law degree, particularly client-focussed skills such as interviewing clients to gather relevant information about their enquiries; identifying clients’ objectives; and preparing accurate attendance notes of meetings. Citizens Advice was also a referee for my application to join a law firm as a trainee solicitor; I still work at the firm, now as a qualified solicitor in its dispute resolution department.

Mworking as a solicitor in Ipswich

Citizens Advice gave me the confidence to interview and advise clients in a supportive and professional environment.

Scurrently volunteering with Suffolk Law Centre and continuing training in law as well as advising with us here at Citizens Advice Ipswich

student volunteering week

Citizens Advice Ipswich thanks volunteers for making a huge difference to people’s lives

Citizens Advice Ipswich is celebrating its volunteers who dedicate their time to solving people’s problems and making a difference to their lives.

Volunteers Week, which runs from 1-7 June, is themed ‘volunteering for all’ and the charity wants to highlight the work of its team, which helps people in the community struggling with debt, housing, benefit and employment issues among other issues.

The 60 volunteers at Citizens Advice Ipswich give up over 11,000 hours each year which adds up to around 230 per week. Last year we helped almost 5000 people with over 18000 issues.

The charity’s volunteers have played a crucial role ensuring people in Ipswich get the advice and support they need to get on with their lives.

Citizens Advice offers a wide range of voluntary roles including fundraising, advisers, administrators and trustees.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer , says “Our volunteers make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“They give up their free time to help people in their community, who may be going through problems, to get back on their feet.

“Volunteering is for everybody and it brings its own rewards. It’s a great way to meet people and learn skills.

“If you’d like to help people in your area and can spare a few hours, we’d love to hear from you.”

In our new group of volunteers who started with us this month, we have all ages and stages of life – two recent graduates, a student looking for volunteering experience during the vacations, newly retired folk and some others looking to learn more about Ipswich as a community.

Funmi, one of our recent volunteers 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 were in nursery. Funmi started as a volunteer administrator and went on to train as an assessor. She has since moved into paid employment in her professional field at Ipswich Hospital.

Funmi said: “You get more than you bargained for when you volunteer with Ipswich CAB! I have helped all sort of clients. No two cases are the same and you never get bored.”

Nicky Willshere commented: “though we were sorry to see such an enthusiastic member of our volunteer team move on, we also see this as part of our role as an organisation at the heart of Ipswich – skilling people up to get back into working in the local area.”

Nationally, 23,000 Citizens Advice volunteers help provide support in 2,900 locations across England and Wales – helping 2.7 million people every year.

Thanks to the contribution volunteers play in local Citizens Advice, 2 out of every 3 clients have their problem solved and 4 out of 5 say the advice received improved their lives.

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice Ipswich contact us via this website or call us on 01473 219770.

Why Do I Volunteer?

“Why do I volunteer with Ipswich Citizens Advice? I am really pleased that I can be part of an organisation that I feel passionate about. Information is power and as an adviser I am able to make sure more people have that power. And of course the real reason is because I enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy myself. The people here are great.”

To mark Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), Ipswich Citizens Advice is shining a spotlight on the remarkable contribution of its team of 56 volunteers who give up 1,000 hours each month to help people find a way forward.

In the year 2016 to 2017, Ipswich Citizens Advice helped 8,009 people with 17,039 problems, from housing and debt issues to benefits and employment rights. This involved some 9,904 volunteer hours.

The charity’s volunteers play a crucial role ensuring people in Ipswich get the advice and support they need to get on with their lives.

Nicky Willshere Manager at Ipswich Citizens Advice said;

“We asked some of our volunteers what keeps them coming in and what they felt they got back from the experience. For some it was the boost to their confidence;”

“I like volunteering as it has given me the opportunity to do something I am good at and realise that I am.”

“I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but volunteering with citizens advice has confirmed to me that I am really good at this. That’s a great feeling.”

“I find my admin volunteering work good as the people I work with are very appreciative of what I do.”

Nicky explained;

“This isn’t just a lovely thing for the individual but can be a huge influence for change. In fact the majority of our volunteers leave us for paid employment, a fact we are extremely proud of.”

Nicky added;

“Volunteering also brings its own rewards and is a great way to meet new people and learn new skills.

“Volunteering with Ipswich Citizens Advice keeps me engaged with what is current in our community and the country as a whole.”

“There’s an element of giving and learning. Every day I go away having learnt something new.”

Nicky concluded;

”Citizens Advice offers a wide range of voluntary roles – from IT support and advisers to administrators and trustees. So we are also extremely happy to welcome those who are retired and looking for a new challenge or just a change.”

“On retirement it was a chance to contribute something that is in line with my own aspirations – now I work with like-minded people.”

“Volunteering with Ipswich CAB keeps my grey matter ticking over.”

Ipswich Citizens Advice is currently recruiting in a number of roles from reception to adviser. If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering with Ipswich Citizens Advice contact Nelleke van Helfteren, Deputy Manager, Ipswich Citizens Advice on 01473 219772 or via this web site

staff awayday

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.