David has been with Citizens Advice for 10 years, in Hart, and earlier in Camberley, beginning as a volunteer. Here, he talks about what being an adviser means to him, and what a difference it can make, both to members of the public who need help, and volunteers who can offer it:
I’ve been quite fortunate in my life – I’ve always had the ability to make a living. I’ve known hard times (homeless and in poverty) and I appreciate we are all different.
Being an adviser, and starting from a position of knowing nothing about most of the topics covered, after 10 years I feel I have the skills and knowledge to empower people who come to us for help. Citizens Advice training is excellent and can also be tough. There’s no place for guesswork.
Whether it’s debt, benefits, relationships, or any of the subject matter we deal with, I am confident we can always move people to the next stage. Sometimes this means taking action on their behalf, and occasionally it means referring them to a specialist. Citizens Advice is never ‘stumped’ for an answer – if we don’t know, we will find a way of the ‘client’ getting the answer.
Every day is different. There is no routine; no ‘standard’ client or ‘standard’ issue, and that is both challenging and rewarding – we all like problem solving.
I have met with thousands of problems and clients, and being taken into someone’s confidence is a privilege. Being able to help, that’s mutual reward.
Times change, problems get more complicated but people still need a little help sometimes, whether that’s in person, or online.
Perhaps you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer? Find out more by contacting Jo Francis on 01252 878435 or via email on email@example.com