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Volunteers

Volunteers' Week 2015

                                                               

As part of Volunteer Week 2015, some of our volunteers from across the partnership have shared their experiences with us.

 

WHAT DO OUR VOLUNTEERS THINK?

 

Mucharutya, Financial Capability Hub Volunteer at New Start

Why did you want to volunteer?

Firstly, the key to volunteering isn’t necessarily about having spare time, it’s about making time, and I choose to make the time. I feel I can do this and can commit for the next two years before my PHD. There are lots of different ways to volunteer and I feel I needed something academic and I feel this is it. I can help add value to the community and it’s a great honour to be able to exercise the exchange of knowledge.

What have you gained from volunteering?

Further understanding of helping people solve their problems. The feedback from clients when you have solved their problems feels so nice. Understanding for myself about financial issues.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

It is within me to volunteer, I used to be a vicar so it is part of me to help people. I really enjoyed meeting new people, the interview selection is so great, everybody that was on the training wanted to contribute, and they are all good people.

Would you recommend?

I would of course recommend it to anybody, as long as they can create the time, are a good listener and have at least an average level of communication skills

 

Susan, Financial Capability Hub Volunteer at South Liverpool CAB

Why did you want to volunteer?

I was unemployed and looking for job skills, I had little confidence so I wanted to build on this. I had done volunteering in the past but I wanted to give back to my own community.

What have you gained from volunteering?

I used to be scared about doing assessments face to face and talking over the telephone at the beginning, but now I am not. I have gained confidence, and transferrable skills

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

Helping someone, weighed down with their problems and worries, when they leave you can tell straight away that they are more optimistic and happy, this has a knock on effect to me, and it makes it all worthwhile. All the people I work alongside are really nice.

Would you recommend volunteering?

I would recommend it to anybody. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t volunteer if you have the free time, I always tell me friends and family to get involved.

 

Honor, Volunteer at RAISE

Honor had a successful career in Liverpool John Moore’s University Library as a Research and Learning Assistant until she was made redundant in 2012. Since her redundancy Honor had spent some time as a Volunteer Student Services Assistant at the City of Liverpool College. Honor began volunteering at Raise in June 2014. She wanted to volunteer with Raise as she was unemployed and wanted to help people deal with problems similar to those that she has faced. She also wanted to refresh her workplace skills and retrain and was considering a career in this sector. Honor worked on both the Welfare Team and the Debt Team. She worked her way through our training programme, completing training booklets and shadowing staff on the Raise Advice Line and at home visits.  She then took on these tasks herself, gaining more confidence as she continued.  When a job came up at Raise, Honor applied and was the successful candidate for a paid position as a Generalist Debt Advisor.

 

CAN I MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Helping people with the problems is so often cited as a major reward for volunteering. But how much can one volunteer make to a person's situation?

John, a volunteer for our Financial Capability Hub project, shares how he assisted just one client through the service.

The work with the client first started with the client due to a debt that she had with the Water company United Utilities which the client first came in to see me about.

The Client was in debt by £177 and I arranged a weekly payment of £8.58, this was for the water usage and the debt that the client was in. I then suggested to the client that she seemed to be in a bit of a money struggle and we could look at her other money outgoings. The first one was the energy bill; her supplier at this time was E-on on a credit meter. She had been with these for a long time. After having the second session with the client I went through Uswitch.com and found the cheaper provider for the client was First Utility which the predictions was £250 per year. This option would mean her going totally online and to get the best result she would have to supply the meter readings onto the First Utility website on a monthly basis and paying as a direct debit which the client was at this time paying in receipt of the bill.

The Second option was EDF which would work out at £210 a year cheaper and would allow the client to keep on paying in the same means and a quarterly bill which the client was use to. I went through both option with the client and the client took them both away with her.

The week after she asked for my help to change over to the Direct Debt system with First Utility. I told her what would happen with the final bill with E-on and the new system that she would go through as the direct debit would be predicted on the usage of the past year with E-on then it would change year by year n if she has credit or if she is in dent with the company which she can keep track on with her online energy account.

The week after which was the major one and the last one for a while was we went through the clients budget on www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk budget planner. Step by step I ask the client what her income was and what her outgoing was. Half of the outgoings was based on the clients bank statements the other half was based on the clients estimates on what she spent week by week. She thought that she spent £200 a week on food due to her 3 children telling her not asking her what to have to have for dinner and what to have at school. The total monthly outgoings came to £1586.25 and her income was £1242.74 so the difference was £343.51 per month.

After this appointment the Client did not come in again for some time. She came back in a few months later. She had changed over to First Utilities and had told me that she had been able to decrease her monthly out goings so the income and expenditure matched as she was able to talk to her children about this.

 

CLIENT FEEDBACK

Our volunteers not only give up their precious time, but make a real difference to people's lives. A client satisfaction survey was conducted recently for one of LCAP's projects delivered by volunteers and the feedback was extremely positive. Just some of the quotes are listed below:

(The volunteer) was very helpful and very polite and I felt that I was taken seriously

I felt comfortable in the sessions. I was put at ease and (IFC volunteer) had a relaxed approach

(After seeing the volunteer) I feel like I am free and not trapped anymore and can deal with financial matters

(The volunteer) listened to me and didn't fob me off like some organisations have

 

LCAP and our partners could not do what we do without the committment of our volunteers. The Citizens Advice Bureaux in Liverpool turned a whopping 75 last September and to celebrate we held a Vintage Tea Party to thank the volunteers for their support. 161 volunteers attended the event with a massive 715 years of volunteering between them. We have 4 volunteers who have been with the CAB for 20 years or more, 21 who have volunteered for 10 years or more and 56 who have committed 5 or more years to the CAB! Even one session with a person in need can make such a big difference and so we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers past and present.

For more information about LCAP and volunteering please visit our Volunteering page here. LCAP currently has opportunities available as part of its Financial Capability Hub - find out more.