Volunteering with CAR. FAQ’s

FAQ’s

This page should answer your immediate questions about Citizens Advice Redbridge (CAR) volunteering.

How do I apply?

Please complete the Expression of Interest form here. A member of staff will be in touch within one week and you will be asked to complete an application form.

I have a disability, can I still apply?

We pride ourselves on the levels of support and encouragement all our volunteers receive. We recognise that some people will need more support than others and we offer additional help to enable people to reach their full potential.   All our recruitment staff are focused on matching the individual to the right volunteering role, so please discuss your particular needs with them. 

Every volunteer is supported by a named supervisor who will work with you to ensure that you are supported to achieve your true potential and that any issues identified are dealt with promptly.  You will be supported to undertake all the training relevant to your role.

We strive to ensure that premises and equipment are as accessible as possible.

I’ve got specific skills and experience, can you use them?

One of the strengths of the CAR service is the diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences our volunteers bring to their roles.  

If you feel that you have skills that would be particularly useful to us then please mention these on your application form.

Are there certain skills I need to have to be a CAR volunteer?

It will depend on which role you are interested in.

All advisers receive comprehensive free training so do not need any previous qualifications or experience. However, you will need to be open-minded, non-judgemental, be willing to learn, and work as part of a team.

Our bureaux are learning environments and volunteering in any role will give you the chance to develop your skills

Do I have to volunteer face to face during COVID lockdowns?

No. Our office is currently closed for all services and all volunteering is currently undertaken at home. 

What will I get out of CAR volunteering?

All our volunteers get something slightly different from the experience.

Some of the most common benefits reported are:

• making a difference to an individual’s life

• changing the way things work for the better

• receiving highly respected training

• getting invaluable work experience

• developing new skills

• putting existing skills to good use

• getting involved with the community

• making new friends

Do you provide training? 

All advisers receive comprehensive free training, which is recognised and respected throughout the country. The training programme consists of observation, working through self-study packs, a training course run by Citizens Advice and ‘on the job’ supported learning and coaching.

You will be supported throughout your training by a dedicated supervisor, and are likely to complete at least parts of the training alongside other new volunteers.

We find that most people complete the adviser training programme within three months although this will, of course, depend on how much time you are able to commit to it.

Other roles also benefit from on the job training. 

Do you always need volunteers?

Yes.  Citizens Advice Redbridge needs around 50 new volunteers every year to meet the constant demand for advice.

What support will I get as a CAR volunteer?

All volunteers are fully supported and supervised throughout their involvement with CAR.

First of all you will be invited to an Introduction Meeting where you can gather more information and ask staff members questions. Currently these take place every Wednesday, 10am-11am.

We also provide a Training Drop In session every week which you can attend if you have any questions regarding your training. These currently take place every Monday, 2pm-3pm.

There is a supervisor on duty at each advice session to guide and assist volunteer advisers.

We make sure that you are not put in situations that are beyond your abilities, and will work with you to help ensure that you find volunteering with us both challenging and rewarding.

How much time do I need to give?

This depends largely on the role you would like to volunteer in and the amount of training you will need. If you wish to be an adviser ideally this would be a minimum of two days per week.

When/what times can I volunteer?

Our Bureau is open during office hours, 9am-5pm.

If you work full time and therefore are never available during the day it is unlikely you will be able to train as an adviser.  Other roles may be more flexible in the times that you can volunteer. Some roles even allow you to volunteer from home for part of the time, e.g. trustee, fundraiser, PR officer.  You can discuss the details with us when we contact you.

Will I get my expenses paid?

Are childcare costs covered?

What age restrictions are there on CAR volunteering?

CAR volunteers need to be a minimum age of 16. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.

I work full-time, can I still volunteer?

There may be some opportunities for evening and weekend work, such as fundraising, though volunteering as an adviser generally needs to be done during normal office hours.

Trustee board members tend to meet in the evenings so trusteeship can be particularly suitable for people who work full time

What volunteering opportunities are there for students at CAR?

Many students (e.g. social policy and law) find CAR volunteering complements their course and provides them with valuable work skills for the future.