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Citizens Advice Ipswich thanks its wonderful volunteers for their dedication

National Volunteers Week 1 – 7 June

Citizens Advice Ipswich has continued giving advice to those in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the tireless dedication of its staff and volunteers.

The team quickly rallied to ensure as many people as possible could be helped over the phone or via email.

As part of Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1 to 7 June, Ipswich Citizens Advice wants to thank volunteers for their contribution not only during this exceptional time, but throughout the year.

Over the past year, 53 volunteers at Citizens Advice Ipswich have contributed around 200 hours each week. Since we have adapted to working from our homes, a small number of volunteers have taken a back seat due to other commitments, but the vast majority have been able to continue to help clients remotely, with the support of the supervisors, trainer and technical support staff.

In the last year, Citizens Advice Ipswich has helped 5,000 people with 28,000 issues such as debt, housing, benefit and employment.

Lilian, volunteer at Citizens Advice Ipswich said:

“I am really grateful to Citizens Advice Ipswich for giving me structure and purpose at this time when so much regular activity has been taken away due to Covid 19. I have been able to help clients by phone from home, with support from the supervisors who really support us. I am spending a little longer on the phone with clients than I would be when working from Tower Street, maybe because we all like to speak to someone.”

Martin C, who started volunteering in February 2019 says:

“I chose to volunteer with Citizens Advice Ipswich as I was keen to support the local community. I wanted to use my life skills and experience to help other people and to gain a better understanding of how volunteering can benefit both the individual and our clients. Since joining in February 2019 I have acquired a greater depth of knowledge regarding a wide range of issues including; housing, benefits, debts, and work related problems. The training has been comprehensive and has equipped me to, both, assist Clients seeking advice, and remain impartial whilst doing so. Colleagues have been very welcoming and keen to help me learn.”

“Continuing to volunteer with Citizens Advice Ipswich during the coronavirus outbreak has been hugely challenging but deeply rewarding. I have had to adapt to new methods of working remotely from the office and acquire new technology skills which, at times, has proved to be quite stretching. The feeling that you are continuing to support people through these unprecedented times and, for what are for many, life changing decisions has been truly humbling.”

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“This year we were particularly delighted by the partnership with the Law School at the University of Suffolk, which saw 6 law students join our ranks to train into advice roles which has given them great insights into how the law impacts on people in their everyday lives.”

Bob Boxall-Hunt, Chairman at Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“Throughout the year our wonderful volunteers contribute their time and energy to make a huge difference to people’s lives and help keep our vital service running.

“Whether they have been able to continue in their role recently, or have paused their volunteering, their support throughout the year has been truly invaluable.”

“As well as helping people through the pandemic related issues, our clients continue to need help with a range of issues that go on in the background and our volunteers and advice workers are here to help five days a week.”

“I cannot thank them enough for their continued dedication. We really couldn’t do it without them.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice Ipswich contact us via the contact page on this website. There is also information on our volunteering page and more information about the types of roles we offer on the national Citizens Advice website.

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.