Volunteering at Citizens Advice
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Rhiannon is a student volunteer at Citizens Advice Ceredigion, one of over 250 local Citizens Advice making up the network of charities throughout England and Wales. They provide free, confidential and impartial advice to anyone who needs it, including students! From issues with your landlord, to your rights in halls, to managing bills with your housemates, they can give you the advice you need to find a way forward.
I started volunteering with Citizens Advice Ceredigion during the last year of my law degree in Aberystwyth. I began volunteering on Adviceline, where we give advice over the phone to people who need our help.
Training started in March 2021. Even though it was remote I always felt supported and part of the team. My training included a mix of both independent training and group training on zoom which was a great opportunity to meet some of the other volunteers.
I volunteer 1 day a week, which balances well with my university timetable and workload. I answer calls to people who need our help with any problems they might be facing. These range from simple queries to more complicated issues where an appointment is made for them with an advisor. No two calls are the same. I help clients with different problems including employment and housing issues. After each call I write up detailed client notes that are informative yet concise and strictly confidential.
My whole experience with Citizens Advice was remote until the Spring and Summer of 2022. I was invited to the National Citizens Advice meet in Cardigan where I met Clare Moriarty, the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice. I’m very grateful for this opportunity! This was also the first time I met some of the people I had been working with for the past few months, like my supervisor.
Volunteering gives me the opportunity to help those in my community including some of the most vulnerable people and gives me an insight into the main issues people are facing in my area. Volunteering here is the perfect way to learn essential skills that are relevant to my degree, as well as a level of professionalism that would be appealing to future employers.
It’s further developed my understanding in areas of the law such as contract and employment. I’m able to find the information relevant to the client and pass it on to them in a clear and concise manner.
It also gave me something to focus on during the pandemic, which I believe helped with my mental health. I have found volunteering extremely beneficial; it has been invaluable professional experience and improved my confidence as well. Not only has it added value to me, but I‘ve been able to help those in my local community. Citizens Advice gives the local community the support and help they need, and it can make a huge difference in someone’s life. I find helping those around me extremely rewarding.
Volunteering with Citizens Advice has got me to where I am today! I’ve now gone on to study a Master of Laws at the University of Manchester. I spoke about volunteering in my personal statement, and it’s added a lot of value to my CV. The ability to volunteer remotely has allowed me to stay part of this while I’m in Manchester.
I’ve loved being a part of the service and look forward to staying part of it while I continue studying. If you’re looking for a way to improve your skills and help those around you, become a volunteer at Citizens Advice!
Rhiannon is a student volunteer at Citizens Advice Ceredigion, one of over 250 local Citizens Advice making up the network of charities throughout England and Wales.