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Volunteer

Volunteer

Volunteers are at the heart of our service helping thousands of residents and workers of Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland each year, providing them Advice, Information and Advocacy.  We have invested time and resource in ensuring that we are able to offer a wide breadth of volunteer opportunities and career pathways.  For further information see volunteering roles and testimonials or contact us for more information.

Please contact us: training@citizensadvicedrc.org.uk

Smiling adults group discussion
Volunteer Roles

Volunteer Roles

Advisers

Without our trained volunteer Advisers at Citizens Advice Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland, we could not continue to meet the demand for advice. Our Generalist Advice Service looks at a client’s situation holistically as opposed to looking at their problems in isolation from one another. Advisers are given free training, both formal and on-the-job. As a Citizens Advice adviser you would:

  • interview clients

  • help them negotiate with people such as creditors or service providers

  • draft letters

  • make phone calls on their behalf

  • refer them to other agencies

  • represent them in court and at tribunals.

 

More details

 

Attention all law students
If you train as a Citizens Advice adviser, you can get up to six months off your solicitor training contracts!

Customer service volunteer

Customer service volunteer are an integral part of the team, managing ‘front-of-house’ on the basis of information provided by the advice session supervisor. Depending on the size and resources of the bureau, the receptionist role may be undertaken by one or more people. As a customer service volunteer you would:

  • greet clients and other visitors

  • answer the phone

  • ensure clients know what is happening and how long they have to wait

  • explain the services available

  • point out leaflets, lists and self-help materials

  • monitor client numbers and waiting times

  • maintain the reception area

  • enter information into computer systems.

 

Specific qualifications and experience are not required to take on the role. You need to:

  • have a good manner when talking to people

  • have basic computing skills

  • have an understanding of, and commitment to, confidentiality

  • be friendly and approachable.

 

More details

Gateway assessors

Gateway assessors help clients get the right help in the fastest time possible. They assess people’s needs, either face-to-face or over the phone, and identify the most appropriate course of action. That might be self-help information, referral to a specialist organisation or an appointment with a Citizens Advice adviser. As a gateway assessor you would:

  • greet clients and explain the gateway assessment process

  • explore the client’s problem(s) and situation

  • assess the risk/urgency of the client’s issue and their ability to deal with the problem themselves

  • identify the next step that needs to be taken

  • summarise the content of the interview for the client and explain what happens next

  • ensure clients know they can return if necessary

  • update the database, completing the gateway assessment screens.

 

Specific qualifications or experience are not required to train for the role. You need to:

  • be good at listening

  • have a good manner when talking to people

  • have basic computing skills

  • be open minded and non-judgmental

  • enjoy helping people.

 

More details

Adviceline telephone assessors

An Adviceline telephone assessor is a diverse role and you will not be expected to know it all! We provide all Adviceline telephone assessors with training, which will help you develop the skills you need to deliver an excellent level of service to clients.

As an Adviceline telephone assessor you would:

  • be the first point of access for Citizen Advice clients when they ring the Adviceline number

  • deal with a wide range of clients problems and issues

  • support members of the public of all ages and backgrounds

  • give information from the Citizens Advice electronic information system and other sources to the client

  • refer clients for more specialist advice where appropriate

  • keep records of all clients cases on the database

  • help prevent future problems by identifying issues that affect a lot of clients.

 

Specific qualifications or experience is not required to train for the role. You need to:

  • be good at listening

  • have a good telephone manner

  • have basic computing skills

  • be open minded and non-judgemental

  • enjoy helping people.

 

Once fully trained we will continue to support you throughout your time as an Adviceline telephone assessor.

Administrators

As a Citizens Advice volunteer administrator you would ensure the smooth running of a bureau by:

  • word processing

  • file management

  • arranging events

  • using databases and spreadsheets

  • answering emails and phone calls

  • updating local information.

Advocacy

Independent Advocacy is about helping others to have their voice heard on issues important to them. Independent Advocates help people to articulate what they need and support them to get it or help represent their interests to others.

We are looking for positive, self-motivated people who respect and value people as individuals.

We want to recruit volunteers who are motivated to help support people who aged 50 or over to obtain their health and social care rights. With your support we can continue to grow this service, and help meet the growing need for help for this group.

In return you will receive training and gain experience with a local charity as well as using and developing your advocacy skills.

More details

Trustees

Because every Citizens Advice is a registered charity, each has its own board of trustees. Some trustee roles require specific skills but bureaux welcome people of all ages, backgrounds and experience to their trustee boards. Because trustee boards tend to meet in the evenings, you can fit this around a full time job or study. As a trustee you would:

  • manage and plan the overall strategic direction fo the bureau

  • act as employer for paid staff

  • manage the bureau’s finances

  • ensure the bureau complies with the law

  • be responsible for premises, insurance and equipment.

 

Personal skills and qualities for all Trustees each individual member of the Trustee Board brings skills and qualities to the Board.

IT support co-ordinators

A wide range of our essential work depends on well-run IT systems. We use them for keeping track of cases, keeping in touch with clients, accessing e-services on their behalf, and monitoring trends. As an IT co-ordinator you would:

  • support local Citizens Advice staff and volunteers.

  • get to the root of any technical problems and solve these.

  • train local Citizens Advice staff and volunteers in IT skills.

Marketing & Communications

Citizens Advice Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland would like to raise its profile in the local community to attract funding, recruit volunteers, promote local and national Citizens Advice campaigns and to ensure that potential clients know how to access our services. This volunteer role will involve:

More details

Fundraiser

Citizens Advice Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland is a local independent registered charity reliant on income from local authorities, companies, charitable trusts and individuals. As a fundraiser you would:

More detail

Advisers
Customer service
Gateway assessors
Telephone assessors
Administrators
Advocacy
Trustees
IT support
Marketing & Coms
Fundraiser
Testimonials

Volunteer Testimonials

Advisory roles:

Gateway Assessor

“I originally volunteered at the bureau to improve my own skills and confidence while studying at university. Having recently graduated I am now looking for work, however my colleagues and the various challenges faced each day, have been a factor in continuing my volunteering. It is a great feeling when you assist with solving problems for people and everyone who uses the service we offer shows their appreciation. Volunteering at the bureau is a great way to help your local community and meet new people.” 

Jonathan, Trainee Gateway Assessor.

“Everyone at the Bureau is really friendly and supportive; it is a great environment. We are helping all sorts of people with everyday issues and I did not know that CAB covered so much. It is the best volunteer training scheme that I have seen in years. It is a joy to be here as a volunteer.” 

Kim, Trainee Gateway Assessor.

Generalist Advisor

“When I retired, we moved back to the UK, after living 10 years in Canada. I volunteered years ago when I was working and raising my children and although I enjoyed it, I could not find the time to do it all. I always knew that when I retired, I would volunteer again. Two months after arriving back in the UK, I visited Evolution to discuss where I might best be placed, to volunteer. Evolution suggested Citizens Advice Bureau and so I attended an open day; from the start, I loved being at the bureau. I was a Telephone Gateway Assessor for two years and then trained to be a Generalist Adviser. I like working with the volunteers and staff here at the bureau. It would be easy to say that I enjoy helping people but it goes deeper than that; I have discovered the goodness in people and that, in itself, is the most rewarding aspect of this work. Even if I cannot solve a client’s problem, simply listening to them is often enough. Most of the people, who visit the Bureau, have serious issues, which affect their quality of life. I love the challenge of sorting through their problems and helping the client to deal with them.”

Sheila, Volunteer Generalist Advisor.

“Being a volunteer with Citizens Advice is both rewarding and satisfying. Being able to help people from all walks of life is rewarding in itself. There is a good feeling of camaraderie and a sense of being part of a large family.”

Shelagh, Home Visits.

Session Supervisor

“I came as a volunteer to the Bureau after retiring early through ill health. When I recovered I needed a new challenge and working here has given me a new purpose and an intellectual challenge, while been much easier than full time work. I have stayed because of the people I work with; people who care enough about others, to work or volunteer at the bureau, to… help those experiencing difficulties in their lives. They are such lively and interesting people and I love working alongside them. When I go home after a hard day at the office, I count my blessings as any problems I have pale into insignificance, when compared to those faced by many of our clients.”

Bob, Volunteer Advice Session Supervisor.

Office roles:

Marketing and PR

“It was an absolute honour to undertake a voluntary marketing and PR internship. My current degree at university does not directly associate with this particular field so I was more than thrilled to have the opportunity to do so at Darlington CAB. Working here has helped me develop the skills essential to this occupation and therefore increasing my chances at impressing my future employers. I am very grateful to have been able to work alongside a close group of friendly and welcoming staff members, and have undoubtedly had the most unforgettable experience ever.” 

Tiffany, Marketing and PR Intern.

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