Help us to make a real difference

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Is the New Year time for a new challenge and a new you?

It’s that time of year to reflect on the year that has passed and to make new resolutions for the year to come. Many New Year resolutions concentrate on becoming healthier and fitter.

But what about focusing on how you can volunteer to help others and serve your local community, while learning new skills and meeting new people?

Citizens Advice Northumberland has a range of opportunities to suit you. We have offices across Northumberland where we provide free, independent and confidential advice to people on their rights in a wide range of areas, including benefits, debt, employment, housing, relationships, immigration and much more. We also carry out research and campaign to get policies and practices changed on issues that are unfair.

Last year, Citizens Advice Northumberland helped more than 14,000 people resolve more than 42,000 problems. We cannot help that many people without the support of volunteers.

We have volunteering roles to suit different skill sets and time commitments, from a few hours a week on reception to one day a week as an assessor on the telephone, or up to 12 hours providing face-to-face advice.

We need enthusiastic people looking for an opportunity to give something back to their community – advice changes lives and you could play a significant part in someone’s future.

Are you retired and looking to keep busy? A parent with time to spare while the kids are at school? Maybe you’re a student looking for work experience that will fit around your studies?

Michelle Turnbull, volunteer development and training officer, said: “Volunteers are the backbone of our organisation. With the demand for our service ever increasing we need more amazing people to become part of our amazing team.”

Every volunteer receives full training. Recruitment starts with a telephone interview to match skills and abilities to the most appropriate role, followed by a skills-based interview at a local office. If successful, volunteers then receive role-specific training, ensuring they are prepared to meet the challenges of their new role. Travel expenses are also paid.

Shaun, a volunteer at our Ashington office, joined as a generalist adviser a year ago. He has praised the charity for the positive impact it has, not just on the lives of its service users, but also on its volunteer workers.

He said: “Citizens Advice Northumberland is a fantastic organisation to be involved with. The time I put in fits around my other commitments and I get so much out of volunteering here.

“I used to be an HGV driver and wasn’t sure I had the skills to move into advice work, but was encouraged to apply by a family member. I am so pleased I did. With training and support from the team I am now able to make a difference to people’s lives every single day. It is so rewarding.

“I am looking for paid work, but in the meantime volunteering keeps me busy, lets me continue to develop transferable knowledge and skills, and provides vital work experience.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for Citizens Advice Northumberland can find more at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/northumberland, call 01670 339985 or email michelleturnbull@citizensadvicenorthumberland.org.uk