Citizens’ Advice Gosport is highlighting the contribution made to the service by its 58 volunteers.
It has calculated that the volunteers have given £303,336 worth of their time in the year ending March helping local people sort out challenging personal problems.
The bureau has teamed up with the organisers of National Volunteers’ Week (1st to 12th June) to celebrate the public service contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
Volunteers support people face-to-face, over the phone and online through email and webchat. They also give their time and experience in areas like IT, administration and Research, and Campaigns.
Chief officer Anita Muff said bureau volunteers were a shining example of selfless service to the people of the town.
‘Citizens’ Advice volunteers change lives. It’s thanks to the generosity of our volunteers that Citizens’ Advice Gosport 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.’
Administration volunteer Laura Drew has been helping at Gosport CAB for 6 months. Volunteering has enabled her to gain confidence in dealing with people and situations at all levels.
Laura said: ‘Since volunteering with Citizens’ Advice Gosport I’ve acquired valuable skills and abilities needed to increase employability.’
‘Thanks to volunteering I cope better with interviews and have become successfully employed. I enjoy the varying tasks and responsibilities given to me, all of which have improved my confidence, and I like being valued as part of a team helping the local community.’
Other volunteers have spoken of the assistance they obtained from the bureau with previous issues, and their determination to give something back to the community in return.
Volunteer Ian Backhouse valued the companionship and confidence that being a volunteer had brought into is life.
He said: ‘There's so much I have learnt since training to be an adviser. It has improved my knowledge and understanding and given me the confidence to tackle almost any situation. But the best thing is the friendly companionship and office banter to counteract the serious nature of many of the issues we deal with. Whether you are looking to make a responsible contribution to the betterment of society, or trying to improve your employability, I can thoroughly recommend volunteering with Citizens’ Advice.’
Gosport has two of the most deprived areas in Hampshire and continues to face significant challenges helping people deal with debt, financial management, employment rights, and benefit entitlement.