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Volunteering

Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau is run entirely through the work of volunteers, who put their free time into helping the various people that make up Orkney. Volunteering positions are always open throughout the year, which are a great way to make a difference in your local community and learn various skills that will prove useful in later life.

Why Volunteer?

By volunteering, you are working to make a difference and improve the wellbeing of Orkney by assisting in the various issues that people have. Additionally, the Citizens Advice Bureau can provide you with various oppurtunities to learn new skills that can assist you with future employment or education, especially if you are interested in social work or even law. Our positions also act as a gateway to make new bonds with other volunteers as well as the clients you help and, due to the large variety of positions, you can be assured that there is a positions for whatever you are interested in. There's no need to worry about a lack of time or money, you can work the hours you are able to without fear of travel costs or losing benifits.

How to apply

If you would like to volunteer with Orkney CAB, either

Contact us (telephone 01856 875266), or

Download a Volunteering Form and return it to the bureau at:

Anchor Buildings
Bridge Street
Kirkwall
KW15 1HR

Go on, give it a try! It might just be one of the best things you ever do

Volunteering Positions

Adviser

Advisers are the backbone of our service, working directly with clients to solve their issues. The work of an adviser can be varied, but these are the usual tasks they may face:  

  • Interviewing clients, both in person and through phone or e-mail
  • Using our online information systems to give information to clients
  • Explaining the client's choices and give advice on these decisions
  • Giving practical help by writing letters, making phone calls, completing forms, doing calculations and even representing clients at tribunals
  • Helping clients find other agencies that may be better suited to assist
  • Writing records of the cases you work on, keeping information confidential
  • Identifying commonly faced issues, to prevent any future problems that may happen

If you are worried that you lack the experience to work in this field, don't worry as any adviser volunteers are given a training programme so that you can develop skills required for being a good adviser. All that you need is a willingness to learn, the ability to work in a team and 4-6 hours of free time each week.

Administrator

Administrators ensure that the bureau's systems and reception run smoothly. Good support is essential for the running of any organisation, and the CAB is no different. There are many different administrative roles we can match to your skills and time available to the bureau's needs. Tasks may include:  

  • Using spreadsheets, databases and word processing packages
  • Sending and recieving phone calls, Faxes, mail and e-mail
  • Updating any leaflets and local information
  • Taking notes and minutes at meetings

Receptionist positions are also available. This role focuses more on tasks such as:

  • Taking messages from clients
  • Welcoming and directing any clients who enter the burea
  • Organising appointments
  • Filing, archiving, opening and allocating mail
  • Photocopying information

Administration is a great skill to develop, and working a voluntary position here may prove essential for getting the skills and experience required to get into the field.

Social Policy Worker

The Citizens Advice Bureau is not only to deal with issues that clients face, but also to find out issues in the nation's legal systems. While it may not direcly solve issues that clients face, social policy work can help fix major issues in laws, regulations, policies and practices which will help prevent many from facing problems not only locally but nationally. Issues you may face in this positions include:

  • Completing client evidence forms
  • Contacting with the national social policy team from Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Working on research projects to learn more about certain problems
  • Discovering and highlighting important issues
  • Giving feedback on other national issues
  • Taking local action towards local politicians, service providers and media

This position can be of great assistance to those who are interested in future law positions, and occasionally you can be a major contributor to vital social reforms. Read this to see an example of research our social policy team has done

Fundraiser

In order to keep our services open and free to the public, the Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau gathers funding through various fundraising oppurtunities. Working as a fundraiser will allow you to help not only keep the bureau running, but improve it so that more support can be given to the local community. Working as a fundraiser involves:

  • Suggesting possible ways to raise funds
  • Planning any fundraising events
  • Booking locations to hold the fundraising events
  • Assist in applying to possible grant funding
  • Improving the profile of the bureau as a charity

Donations are what keeps the service alive, so fundraising is a very useful position in continuing our mission to resolve issues in local communities.

Management Committee

Every citizens advice bureau has a management committee responsible for running the organisation and meeting the aims of the CAB service in Scotland. The management committee is a voluntary group of people with the key role of ensuring that the bureau fulfils all its legal obligations and operates efficiently and according to good practice guidelines.

Some of the things that management committees are involved in include:

  • Financial matters, for example budget reviewing, fundraising and planned service developments
  • Promotion and awareness raising, to make sure that the bureau is well known in the area it serves
  • Working with the bureau manager and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) to make sure that quality standards are being met in the bureau
  • Devising the bureau's business plan, and monitoring its implementation
  • Making sure the bureau is fulfilling its responsibilities as an employer of paid staff

You don't need to be a qualified professional to sit on a CAB management committee. Bureaux need people of all ages, skills and experiences so that everyone can learn from each other.

Training and Support

Advisers don't need to know it all! We provide all trainee advisers with a comprehensive accredited training programme that will give you the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to clients. Our up-to-the-minute electronic information system contains most of the information you will need when advising clients.

You won't be left alone after you are trained. There will always be a more experienced adviser, who will give you support, advice and guidance.

Once you have qualified as a Generalist Adviser, you will have the opportunity to develop further skills and increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge.

Quotes

Here are some quotes from people who have worked as volunteers for our local branch of Citizens Advice Bureau:

"I love volunteering at CAB, learning new skills has given me a confidence boost"

"Orkney CAB has helped me in the past, and now as a volunteer I can help others"

"I feel that by giving my time, I can make a real difference"

 

If you would like to find out more about volunteering, please contact Orkney CAB, telephone 01856 875266.

A short film about volunteering, by Edinburgh CAB

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