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Volunteering

How to apply

If you would like to volunteer with Orkney CAB, either

Contact us (telephone 01856 875266), or

Download an Application Form from our Library page 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

Why Volunteer?

All sorts of people volunteer for many different reasons. Here are a few of them:

  • Volunteering provides an opportunity to learn new skills and to develop existing ones
  • You will find it challenging, rewarding and varied
  • There are many ways you can help that will suit the time you have to spare and the skills you have got to offer
  • It is also a chance to put the skills and experience you have to good use helping others. We need people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Many people who have been CAB volunteers move on to paid work or further education
  • You can get satisfaction from helping yourself and those around you
  • It is rewarding and good fun
  • Work in the front line of social policy
  • Bureau training and supervision programmes mean you will receive support along the way
  • You will meet many interesting people volunteering in a bureau
  • If you are looking for a job, working in a bureau will not affect your benefits
  • And you will not be out of pocket - CAB will cover any travel costs incurred by volunteering

What Volunteers do

There are a number of ways in which you can help. In the front line, volunteers act as advisers to help clients directly. However, there are a number of other tasks in the CAB where you can help, such as adminstration and committee work.

Adviser

Being an adviser is a very varied role. As an adviser you will:  

  • Interview clients at drop-in sessions and appointments in the bureau, over the phone and at outreach sessions
  • Give information from the CAB electronic information system and other resources
  • Give advice in explaining the choices and consequences the client faces
  • Give practical help by writing letters, making phone calls, completing forms, doing calculations and even representing clients at tribunals
  • Refer clients to other agencies if they are better placed to help
  • Keep records of all clients' cases
  • Prevent future problems by identifying issues that affect a lot of clients

Administrator / Reception

Administrators ensure that the bureau systems run smoothly. Good support is essential for the running of any organisations, 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
  • Maintaining and developing administrative systems
  • Stock control of leaflets and materials and updating information
  • Helping to arrange events
  • Receiving and sending faxes, mail, email and telephone calls
  • Taking notes and minutes at meetings

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.

Requirements to be a Volunteer Adviser

We are always looking for advisers. You do not need formal qualifications to take on this role but you do need to be able to listen, communicate on a variety of levels and empathize with clients' situations, with the ability to:

  • Be a good listener, open minded and able to work with clients to achieve results
  • Be able to read complex information and explain it
  • Be able to cope with basic mathematics
  • Be able to work as a team member
  • Be able to commit yourself to a certain number of hours each week
  • Support Equal Opportunities.

We ask volunteer advisers to give commitment to:

  • Undertake basic training and regular in-service training.
  • Work approximately 5 hours a week and attend staff meetings.

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.

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aL0cOAqLxc