Harlow Citizens Advice Bureau needs volunteers

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THE CITIZENS Advice Bureau (CAB) in the town centre is searching for volunteers to tackle client waiting list.

Every day, twenty-five to thirty people are waiting for an appointment with an advisor at the Bureau. The majority of individuals who turn up are dealing with more than one problem and solving them takes time, which means that many more volunteers are needed.

No qualifications are needed to become a volunteer at the Bureau but full training is given. Currently, only seven advisors are present throughout the day and supervisors try to match shifts to busy periods.

Anne Pattison, level one volunteer at Harlow CAB said: “I want to stress how organised and supportive volunteering here is.”

She began by doing two days for research and campaigning and then progressed to four days a week working on advertising.

Chelsey Thomson, who started as an apprentice and is now the official supervisor, said: “The amount of clients coming in for advice is on-going and is evolving”. Recognising the pattern in peak times is crucial to understanding what problems are occurring. During the Christmas period there is always a rise in clients and most problems are related to relationships, debts, and consumers.”

The three main problems occurring are debt, housing and benefits. Ten thousand homes in Harlow are owned by Harlow Council making most people at a higher risk of problems such as eviction, financial instalments on housing and neighbourhood issues.

Della Nash, recruiter at Harlow library, helps people to become volunteers and contacts the supervisor if they fit the role. CAB has recently designed new leaflets to promote volunteer work and bring awareness to the decline of volunteer work.

It is crucial that people are aware that when they talk to any advisor in the centre, every piece of information shared is confidential.

For more information on the CAB go to: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

 

 

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Willow Jacobs-Harding

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