Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire celebrates its volunteers for their vital support during the cost-of-living crisis
- Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is marking Volunteers Week by celebrating the dedication of its team
- 20 volunteers give a total of 200 hours each week to help the people of South Gloucestershire
- The charity marked their achievements with an award ceremony including awards for “most polite” and “funniest” Adviser
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire has received a huge number of enquiries from local people struggling to stay on top of household bills as the cost-of-living crisis continues to make life incredibly difficult.
The national charity has helped a record 94,000 people with food bank referrals and access to emergency charitable grants in the first four months of this year. That’s a 178% increase on the same period in 2020.
Thanks to the tireless dedication of its volunteers and staff, the local charity has continued to give essential advice and crisis support to help people find a way forward.
The picture in South Gloucestershire
In the last year, Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire has helped 4,198 people with 19,652 problems. This includes debt advice, housing, benefits and employment issues.
Now, as part of Volunteers’ Week from 1st to 7th June, Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is taking the time to highlight the incredible work its volunteers do. And, thank them for their exceptional contribution to the charity and community at large.
The charity recently held an awards event for its dedicated team of volunteers at St John’s Church Centre in Chipping Sodbury.
And the fun awards included “most polite adviser”, “funniest adviser” and “adviser with the best laugh”.
The charity also celebrated the achievements of the team. They have secured £3.7 million in financial outcomes for the people they help in the past year.
A total of 20 volunteers at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire contribute 200 hours each week.
Volunteers Week – words from our Advisers
Pippa, 51, from Bristol, is a Gateway Adviser with Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire having previously worked in IT administration for 20 years.
She began training in November and completed in February, and is now helping clients with a wide range of problems. She covers the face-to-face session in Yate on a Monday and the telephone Adviceline on Wednesday afternoons.
Pippa said: “I wanted to volunteer as I had retired and wanted to do something with my time. I’m a perpetual volunteer – I always helped at my children’s school with the Parent Teacher Association. Volunteering is part of what I do really.
“It’s about giving back to the community and helping people. I like helping people and help people to the best of my ability – and I get that pleasure out of it. It’s a constant learning curve. The people we help appreciate the help we give them.”
Maya, 24, a student in Bristol, said: “I started volunteering in October last year. My friend at university did some volunteering with Citizens Advice so I thought I would quite like to do it as well.
“I like the charity’s ethos and it is a really important part of the community. I enjoy enabling people to move forwards with their issues. It’s rewarding to see people feel as though they can improve their situation.”
Mary-Anne, 66, is a Generalist Adviser having previously worked as a nurse in the NHS.
She began volunteering with Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire in September 2017 and works on Mondays and Fridays.
She said: “I retired from the NHS and felt I still had skills to share and wanted to make use of those skills. So while I had time and the ability I thought it was a good thing to do.
“If you have an interest in people and you are happy to give up some time, I think it’s a very valuable and interesting role.”
Thoughts from our CEO
Chantal Watts, Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire said: “We’re forever grateful to our wonderful team of volunteers who willingly give up their time and skills to ensure people in South Gloucestershire can get the support they need.
“I’m particularly proud of the dedication they’ve shown during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, when demand for our help is so high.
“Their hard work, dedication and commitment is incredible. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”
There are face-to-face drop-in sessions in the Yate office on Mondays (4pm to 6pm), Tuesdays (10am to 3pm) and Fridays (10am to 1pm).
There are also outreach sessions in Bradley Stoke, Thornbury, Cadbury Heath, Emersons Green and Stoke Gifford throughout the week – check here for dates and times.
- Anyone in South Gloucestershire seeking free, independent, impartial and confidential advice from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can call 0808 278 7947 or visit: southgloscab.org.uk
- Anyone wishing to donate to Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire to help it continue its vital work should visit: https://bit.ly/3kG7HyB