What our volunteers do
There are plenty of ways you can volunteer at North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service - no matter your age, background or experience. Our volunteers help with everything we do: giving advice, administration, fundraising and campaigning.
When you volunteer with us, you will:
- Make a meaningful difference to people in North Ayrshire
- Receive full training for your role and have access to ongoing development
- Have an opportunity to influence our work through our Volunteer Forum
- Meet like-minded volunteers and become part of the North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service
Our Volunteer Roles
There are several roles available if you want to volunteer with us. Some roles require you to give a specific amount of time, or have particular skills. The description for each role will tell you what kind of time commitment or experience is required. Most roles just need your time and enthusiasm.
Volunteers who give advice to our clients are at the heart of our service and we could not be without them. We pride ourselves on providing quality advice so all our advisers undergo a full training program to provide them with the skills needed to help people overcome their problems and learn how to find the information the client needs from our extensive database. Once training is completed, advisers are supported and supervised as they begin to give advice and will receive feedback and development opportunities throughout their volunteering. We won’t just throw you in at the deep end – don’t worry.
What you actually do will vary from issue to issue, but you can expect to do things like:
- finding out the key points of a client’s problem
- finding out what a client’s problem is and helping them understand self-help information so the client can act for themselves
- helping a client with debts to work out a reasonable rate of repayment and supporting them to negotiate this with creditors
- interviewing a homeless client to find out what their housing options are and helping the client decide their next steps
- interviewing a client that has been sacked and finding out whether they have lost their job unfairly or not.
You don’t need specific qualifications or experience to train for the role but what you do need is:
- an ability to understand complex information
- to be polite and good at listening
- to be familiar with using keyboard skills and searching the internet
- to be able to input data accurately
- a good level of literacy and numeracy
- to be open minded and not judge clients
- to enjoy helping people
Please note: If you’re a law student and you train as a Citizens Advice adviser, you can get up to six months off your solicitor training contract!
Not all clients need advice – some just need help to find the right information. Others need support to use digital services. Our digital and information assistants provide exactly that, helping clients to use things like tablets, kiosks, online PCs, benefit calculators and direct-dial phones. In doing so, they help build the skills and confidence of clients to find information online and use digital services like vehicle tax renewal, finding a rented property and claiming benefits. They do some or all of these activities:
- explaining the service to members of the public
- supporting clients with using self-help services including tablets, kiosks and PCs
- helping clients to identify the correct leaflet, self-help resource or service provider
- identifying when clients need to be referred for more help
- signposting clients appropriately to suit their needs following agreed protocols
- recording client numbers and issues.
Specific qualifications and experience aren’t required to take on the role but you do need to be:
- competent in using IT to complete forms and conduct transactions online
- polite, friendly, open and approachable.
Our Receptionists are the public face of every local Citizens Advice, managing ‘front-of-house’ based on the information given by the advice session supervisor. You will be responsible for making sure our clients receive the best service we can deliver as an organisation by putting them at the heart of everything we do.
Our receptionists carry out the following duties:
- greet our clients and other visitors
- answer the phone
- ensure clients know what is happening and how long they have to wait
- explain the services on offer
- give clients leaflets, lists and self-help materials
- take records of the number of client visits and how long they wait to be seen
- keep the reception area tidy
You don’t need specific qualifications and experience but you’d need to:
- be polite when talking to people
- have basic computing skills
- have an understanding of, and commitment to, confidentiality
- be friendly and approachable.
By using evidence that we get from our clients, you could help bring about changes in local and national policies and services which can benefit everyone – even those who have never used a local Citizens Advice before. As a campaigner you’ll:
- fill out and gather evidence forms which explain the detail of what our clients come to us about
- find out and raise relevant issues in the local Citizens Advice
- train other staff and volunteers in finding out about issues and completing evidence forms
- carry out research and write reports
- get involved in media campaigning
- work with other local Citizens Advice centres and organisations.
Trustees are volunteers who are expected to use their skills, knowledge and experience to help guide and govern North Ayrshire Citizens Advice. They work with the Chief Executive and other staff to shape strategy and give direction.
This includes making sure that our charity is:
- Doing what it was set-up to do, such as offering high quality advice services to the local community.
- Complying with the law, including upkeep of premises, insurance, recruitment and equipment.
- Securing money to meet current and new demands, and that all funds are used responsibly.
- Recognised and valued by local organisations, funders and people, who are aware of the vital service their local Citizens Advice provides.