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Volunteering

Recruiting now.

Our wonderful team of over 100 volunteers have a huge range of backgrounds and experiences and reflect our diverse and vibrant community.

They support our service through a range of activities which include advising the public face to face and by phone, managing reception, welcoming and supporting visitors to our libraries and providing training and support in digital and money skills. All our volunteers receive full training for their role and always have someone there to support them.

We are hugely proud of our volunteers and if you would like to be a part of this successful, innovative and welcoming team, you can find all the information you need on this page, and details of how to apply below.

Jump to: Volunteer Roles | How to Apply | Volunteering FAQs | Volunteering Case Studies

What to expect

We ask for an initial commitment of 6 months and the amount of time required differs from role to role. Our Assessors usually do a minimum of 15 hours per week across 2 full days or 3 or 4 shorter days, for example, while our Digital Champions do half a day per week.

Training for our Assessors is competence based.  We help you track your development and we provide a certificate. If it is your goal, we offer you opportunities to progress to other roles.

Some volunteers stay for just 6 months and some have been with us over 10 years. The majority of volunteers who leave us go into full time employment. Our goal is that, whenever a paid job comes up with us, it is filled by one of our volunteers. This means we can guarantee that they have been well trained and deliver high quality services. Half of our paid staff are former CAHF volunteers and we continue to structure our training to enable this progression and maximise these opportunities.

Volunteer Roles

Here are the volunteer roles we are currently recruiting to.

For some roles there will be a test as part of the recruitment, for some roles there will be a practical assessment or presentation at interview.

Assessor (Trainee Adviser)

What you will be doing

The Assessor role is at the heart of our work in the community.  You will deliver initial client advice assessments by telephone and face to face.  This involves exploring the issue with the client and then providing information, signposting elsewhere or booking an appointment with an Adviser as appropriate.

What you will gain from the role

If selected, you will be part of a friendly and supportive team.  You will be enrolled in our extensive, comprehensive and certificated Adviser Learning Programme.  This is structured and proven to build your abilities and understanding and includes a blend of face-to-face and online learning.  You will learn how our service delivery works in practice by shadowing our experienced Assessors as they provide telephone and face-to-face assessments. You will learn our case management system and the other systems and tools which support our work. Encouraging and constructive feedback will be provided to help you develop and hone your skills in doing assessments and writing case notes.

On reaching competence in the Assessor role (which usually takes 6 months of consistent delivery at two days a week), you will obtain a certificate and have the option to move on to train as an Adviser. Adviser training and development is over a longer period with similar competence-based achievement and certification.

What you will bring to the role

You will need to be able to communicate effectively with clients, to manage the conversation, extract the key information, research answers and explain options in a way that will be understood by clients with a range of abilities.  This will require clear spoken and written English (while fluency in other languages is appreciated) and accurate online research skills.  

You will also need to be able to write objective, succinct case notes that meet our quality standards, to have good typing skills and be confident in learning and using IT applications and the internet.  

You will need to be willing and able to follow instructions and act positively on feedback.

What is the time commitment

We need you for a minimum of 15 hours per week. Most volunteers do 2 full days but doing the time over 3 or 4 shorter days may be possible. We are flexible, and if you can only commit to 1 day a week due to university, caring responsibility or work, you are more than welcome to apply. However, it will take longer to achieve competence as an Assessor to get your certificate before being able to move on to train as an Adviser. 

What is involved in the recruitment process

If you are shortlisted on the basis of the application form, you will be sent a short test to be completed before being invited to interview.  Interviews take place online with our Training and Development Manager. If you are successful, and we have received two satisfactory references, we will agree your start date and your introduction to the role of Assessor and the learning pathway you will follow.  

Library Volunteer

Commitment: minimum 1 day per week (or 2 half days)

Role Description: We deliver library services at Avonmore Library and Neighbourhood Centre and Askew Road Library. Professional library qualifications are not required. We are looking for people able to help us with some or all of the following:

  • Welcome visitors to the library
  • Maintain an ordered library stock
  • Assist customers to use the self-serve library facilities
  • Assist customers wanting to learn digital skills
  • Organise and run community events

The library reception volunteers also provide reception for clients seeking information and advice from Citizens Advice or attending advice appointments.

Key Skills

  • Organised approach, with the ability to follow instructions
  • Good attention to detail
  • Good customer service and communication skills
Advice Receptionist

What you will be doing

The Advice Receptionist is the first point of contact and the face of Citizens Advice for those arriving for drop-in or face-to-face advice services.  The role is critical in ensuring that members of the public are welcomed appropriately and the queues are managed effectively.  You will support our team of Advisers and Assessors who are providing face-to-face advice and support services to local people in our drop-in centre at Avonmore Library.  You will be welcoming people, finding out what they need and managing the queue.  You may then follow up by signposting to other organisations or booking appointments with advisors.

What you will gain from the role

You will gain experience in a customer-facing role in the community and of interacting with diverse people and helping them get the information or advice they need.  You will experience team working at its best from working in a friendly and supportive team of Advisers and Assessors.  You will have the opportunity to learn about the work, systems and processes of Citizens Advice and, if you are interested in moving into an Assessor (Trainee Adviser) role, you will be in a strong position to apply.  

What you will bring to the role

You will bring a friendly and approachable manner, listening skills and the patience and empathy to support people with different needs and different levels of understanding. An interest in the work of Citizens Advice will help.  

What is the time commitment

We need you for a minimum of 1 day full day (9.30-16.30) per week and preferably throughout the year including school holidays.

What is involved in the recruitment process

If you are shortlisted on the basis of the application form, you will be sent a short test (the same test as for Assessor) to be completed before being invited to interview.  Interviews take place online with our Training and Development Manager.  If you are successful, and we have received two satisfactory references, we will agree your start date and your introduction to the role of Advice Receptionist.

Digital Champion

What you will be doing

Many people in our community are at risk of being excluded from opportunities and relationships due to their lack of digital skills.  The Digital Champion plays a vital role in helping members of our community to develop the digital literacy they need to use phones, tablets and computers effectively and to access opportunities and information.  You will be part of a team which runs drop-in sessions for local people who want to learn basic digital skills and help to make the most of their smartphones or laptops.  A number of Digital Champions attend the same session and each provides one-to-one support.  Sessions are held at Avonmore Library and at outreach locations in the borough.

What you will gain from the role

You will have the satisfaction of supporting people in the community to build skills and develop self sufficiency in the digital world.   You will develop your own skills in teaching, mentoring, coaching and team working and you will learn from the knowledge and experience of the other Digital Champions.  You will develop your own digital skills as we always understand things better when we have to explain them to someone else!

What you will bring to the role

You will bring a friendly and approachable manner and the ability to figure out how best to support people.  That means helping them become independent as opposed to doing things for them.  Patience, empathy and flexibility are essential as we meet people with different needs and levels of understanding.  Experience of teaching or mentoring or coaching would be an advantage but is not essential.

On top of those personal skills, you will need to be confident using basic computing functions such as setting up email addresses, downloading apps and using Microsoft Office or Google Docs.  It is good to have experience of using different operating systems (Android, IoS and Windows) but specific technical expertise is not required as most learners are at basic level.

What is the time commitment

We need you for 1 or 2 half-days a week.  

What is involved in the recruitment process

If you are shortlisted on the basis of the application form, you will be invited to a face-to-face interview.  If you are successful at interview, and we have received two satisfactory references, we will agree your start date and induction as a Digital Champion. 

Money Skills Trainer

What you will be doing

Many people in our community need help to understand their personal finances and to manage their money effectively.  Our Money Skills Trainers play a vital role in helping members of our community to get to grips with a range of common money-related issues and to improve their finances.  You will deliver presentations and lead discussions about everyday money management.   The topics include budgeting, saving, benefits, wills, pensions, scams, energy bills and more.  You will help to develop and revise our existing training materials for different sessions and audiences.

The sessions are offered directly by Citizens Advice at our offices or in response to requests from community groups. 

What you will gain from the role

You will have the satisfaction of supporting people in the community to build the skills they need to be financially capable.  You will further develop your own skills and experience in presentation and facilitation and you will probably understand more about everyday money management when you are in the position of explaining things to others! 

You will get support to prepare you for the role including access to our existing training materials and shadowing experienced trainers.

What you will bring to the role

You will need great presentation skills and to be able to adapt your content and delivery to meet the needs of individual learners and groups.  

You will be able to communicate with people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives and levels of knowledge about money.  

You will also need an organised approach when you are preparing for and running sessions.  

An interest in the financial issues that affect people in the local community will be a huge advantage.

What is the time commitment

We need you for 3 or 4 half-days in the month.  

What is involved in the recruitment process

If you are shortlisted on the basis of the application form, you will be invited to a face-to-face meeting where we ask you to do a short presentation. If you are successful, and we have received two satisfactory references, we will agree your start date and your introduction to the role of Money Skills Trainer.

Trustee

What you will be doing

Trustees are the volunteers who lead the organisation, are responsible for its overall governance and strategic direction and accountable for its general and financial management.  You will prepare in advance and actively participate in regular Board of Trustees meetings.  You will actively contribute to setting the policy and strategic direction of the organisation, to defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance.

At present we are seeking to recruit a Digital Trustee who will lead on our digital strategy and ensure that our information technology structures are responsive to our organisational needs.

What is the time commitment

You will need to be able to commit for at least one year and have the availability to attend quarterly Board of Trustees meetings and other meetings and events as part of your role.  (There is a longer commitment for Trustees than for other volunteers.)

What is involved in the recruitment process

If shortlisted on the basis of the application form, you will be invited to an interview with the Chair of Trustees and CEO.  If you are successful at the interview, and we have received two satisfactory references, you will be invited to attend a Board Meeting as an observer before a final decision is made about appointment to the Board.

References and Identity

Appointments are subject to two satisfactory references, confirmation of identity as well as further enhanced checks for Directors.

Main duties and responsibilities for all trustees

Each individual member of the trustee board has a responsibility to contribute to the discharging of the board’s duties. They can do this by:

  • maintaining an awareness of the business of the local Citizens Advice
  • taking responsibility for their own learning and development
  • regularly attending, preparing for and taking a full part in meetings
  • actively contributing to setting policy and strategic direction, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance
  • monitoring whether the service complies with its governing document, whether it meets Citizens Advice standards and how well the advice needs of the local community are being met
  • monitoring the financial position and ensuring that the local Citizens Advice operates within its means and objects, and that there are clear lines of accountability for day-to-day financial management
  • supporting the development of the local Citizens Advice through participation in agreed projects
  • actively seeking to further the strategic objectives of the local Citizens Advice, and acting in its best interests at all times
  • maintaining confidentiality about any sensitive or confidential information received in the course of duties as a trustee.

Personal skills and qualities for all trustees

Each individual member of the trustee board brings skills and qualities to the board. They add to the collective knowledge and experience by providing:

  • commitment and availability to attend trustee board meetings
  • effective communication skills and willingness to participate actively in discussion
  • willingness to gain knowledge of local needs and resources
  • commitment to the aims, principles and policies of the Citizens Advice service, including those relating to equal opportunities, independence, and research and campaigns
  • willingness and ability to act in the best interests of the local Citizens Advice
  • ability to understand and accept their responsibilities and liabilities as trustees and employers
  • willingness to participate in democratic process which develops Citizens Advice policies by area and nationally
  • numeracy to the extent required to understand accounts with the support of a treasurer
  • willingness and ability to learn, and to develop and examine their own attitudes
  • ability to think creatively and strategically, and exercise good, independent judgement
  • ability to work effectively as a member of a team.
Social Media Volunteer

What you will be doing

We need help telling local residents and stakeholders about our work.  We are seeking a social media volunteer, who has the ability to deliver engaging content and who will help Citizens Advice Hammersmith and Fulham (CAHF) to harness the power of social media and raise awareness of our work. 

You will help us to grow our social media presence so we can:

  • promote our services, activities and events,
  • reach more potential clients, supporters, volunteers and staff, 
  • inform the public about their rights and how to protect themselves against fraud and scams, 
  • celebrate CAHF’s 85th year of providing  advice and information to the Hammersmith and Fulham community.

This will involve:

  • using social media (X,Instagram,Linkedin,YouTube,NextDoor and Facebook) to raise the profile of CAHF locally,  
  • producing fresh, branded and engaging content for our social media channels, ensuring it complies with National Citizens Advice policies and guidelines,
  • working with our social media team to ensure our posts are varied, relevant, engaging and interesting to potential clients and funders as well as to families, professionals and the general public,
  • ensuring the posts are scheduled and distributed regularly,
  • liaising with external teams including National Citizens Advice Social Media team and Research and Campaigns team,
  • using creative skills to devise games, competitions and other strategies to engage, grow, and widen our target audiences.

What you will gain from the role

You will gain valuable experience in marketing, social media and PR  and in using those skills to market community events and projects and raise the profile of a local charity.  You will be part of a friendly, supportive, diverse team where you can build on your communication and listening skills.  It is a role where you will be able to use your skills and develop them further whilst making a real difference to people’s lives and having a positive impact in your community.  The role is flexible and can be done at our office or remotely from home.

What you will bring to the role

You will bring strong experience of social media and, ideally, experience gained from working in media, communication or publicity.  You will need excellent IT, verbal and written communication skills and an ability to communicate with people at all levels.  You will need to be proactive, enthusiastic, friendly, approachable and professional and to understand the importance of confidentiality.  A commitment to the aims and principles of Citizens Advice and its equality and diversity policies is essential.

What is the time commitment

We need you for a minimum of four to six hours per week.  The role is flexible and could be shared by more than one volunteer if needed.

What is involved in the recruitment process

If you are shortlisted on the basis of the application form, an  interview will be scheduled.  If you are successful at interview, and we have received two satisfactory references and your DBS check has been completed, we will agree your start date and your introduction to the role of Social Media Volunteer.


How to apply

If you can see yourself in one of these volunteer roles, using your skills and learning new ones, giving back to the local community, solving problems and helping those in need whatever the issue, we would love to hear from you.

Please apply by completing our volunteer application form. If you have any questions about the form or anything else, please get in touch on volunteer@cahf.org.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

There are interviews, either face-to-face or online, for all volunteer roles.  For some roles we send you a brief test and then conduct an interview. Some interviews include a practical assessment relevant to that role. Our Money Skills Trainers, for example, are asked to do a brief presentation.

Unfortunately we do not pay travel expenses during the recruitment process. If selected, we pay out of pocket travel expenses for attendance at training, induction and regular volunteering. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We delete all information 12 months after receipt unless you have been successful in recruitment, in which case we gain your permission on what is retained and how it is used. There is further information in the volunteer application form.

Volunteering FAQs

Will I have to complete an application form/have an interview?

All volunteers are required to complete an application form, but it differs from a job application form because we require completion not to assess your ability to meet the criteria of an advertised post, but to give you an opportunity to tell us about your skills and the roles you’ve undertaken in both paid and unpaid capacities. We want you to tell us about all your skills and this includes those outside of employment for example, as a carer or via your involvement in social groups. The volunteer application form enables us to find out more about you and that the volunteering opportunity for which you’ve applied meets your needs and interests and that you can meet the commitment required to perform the roles you are interested in.

We conduct an interview for all our volunteer roles and for some roles we will also send you a test to complete before we arrange the interview date. We will provide you with information about Citizens Advice policies before your interview, this is so that we can interview you to a high standard. We expect you to read, consider and understand the information we send. We have high expectations of our volunteers and so we recruit to a high standard. There is further information about the Citizens Advice service on the national Citizens Advice website (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/).

How much time will I need to commit to volunteering with Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham (CAHF)?

Time committed to volunteering with us depends upon the role that you choose to undertake with us. We have explained the commitments in the Volunteer Roles section above.

If you cannot meet the required commitment for the roles you have expressed an interest in, we may suggest other roles to you.

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

It will depend on which role you are interested in. Some roles require specific skills, for example we want our Data Analysts to have experience in Microsoft Excel as this is the format most of our service delivery data is in.

For other roles we do not ask for specific skills as we will develop these through training and support. For all roles we are looking at attitudes as well as skills, we require you to be open-minded, non-judgemental, and be able to listen, learn and work in a team

Will I get my expenses paid?

We reimburse volunteers for reasonable ‘out-of- pocket’ expenses for travelling locally to our offices via the most cost efficient method, or other venue where you assist us (Congestion charge is not included). Lunch will only be reimbursed when a volunteer attends full day external training events where lunch is not provided.

What age restrictions are there on volunteering with CAHF?

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over and aged under 80 for insurance purposes.

Does CAHF offer work experience placements?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer work experience placements.

Will volunteering with CAHF affect my Benefits?

If you are receiving certain state benefits you might have a responsibility to inform the relevant agency before you start volunteering. Volunteering with us will not affect Universal Credit or New Style JSA PROVIDED YOU:

Take reasonable steps to find a job (e.g. answering advertisements, signing up with any agency, and taking other steps required by the Job Centre)
Can be available for work for 40 hours each week
Inform the Job Centre / work coach that you are volunteering
Can take up work or attend interview within 48 hours.
We can help you by providing a standard letter stating that you:

Don’t get paid, only reimbursed actual out-of-pocket expenses
Can be contacted whilst volunteering at CAHF if a job opportunity becomes available
Can be available at a certain period of notice to start work or attend an interview (must be less than 48 hours).

You can read more here.

Will volunteering with CAHF affect my other benefits?

If you’re in receipt of other benefits (Employment Support Allowance, Income Support & Carers Allowance) you are able to volunteer as many hours as you wish, provided you continue to keep to the entitlement rules for that benefit. You can read more here. We can help you by providing a standard letter confirming:

Numbers of hours volunteering undertaken with CAHF
Hours spent volunteering at the bureau are unpaid
Flexibility of volunteering i.e. it cannot be regarded as the same as paid work.
There are some benefits that are not affected by volunteering and where the relevant agencies do not need to be informed that the person is volunteering. These include: State Retirement Pension, Council Tax Reduction, Housing Benefit, Statutory Maternity pay, Maternity Allowance, War Widow’s Pension and Widow’s Pension.

Will I have to complete DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service)?

We do not currently ask for a DBS check unless your role is likely to involve working alone with children or vulnerable adults, but this may alter depending on changes in local or national policy.

I work full time, can I still volunteer with CAHF?

CAHF normal working hours are 9.30am – 5.00pm Monday-Friday, and volunteer opportunities will usually be limited to these hours. In limited roles and circumstances, we may ask for help with evening or weekend sessions that we run and Trustee Board meetings usually take place after 6pm. Therefore, for those unavailable on weekdays, the range of volunteer opportunities will be limited.


Volunteering Case Studies

Alastair Ritchie, former Volunteer Adviser and then Project Worker

Why is volunteering good?

A former Prime Minister once said that “Volunteering is essential to creating an inclusive and mutually supportive society.” Whilst, I could write about having an altruistic nature and the benefits of a ‘Big Society’ there are better reasons!

Over the past two decades there is a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not.

Furthermore, comparisons of the health benefits of volunteering for different age groups has also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering. In other words volunteering at Citizens Advice is good for my health!

Bianca St Prix – former Volunteer Assessor

Volunteering at Citizens Advice Hammersmith and Fulham has been one of my best career decisions that I have made. Coming from a five-year employment break, whilst concentrating on my educational studies has enabled me to regain my confidence within a working environment and gain real work experience. Volunteering at CAHF has also exposed me to a variety of societal issues that affect the local community. This experience has been invaluable as it has provided me with the opportunity to gain knowledge outside of my legal studies, assist members of local community and to give something back.

The training provided by the CAHF is second to none. They have equipped me with employment skills that will be highly valued by any employer, such skills are also transferable to everyday life situations. For me the best things about volunteering at CAHF were the members of staff. From my very first day, all staff were very welcoming and very pleasant to be around. The support received has been first class. I was able to approach anyone with any issues that I had.

Another best is when a client tells you thank you. When this happens you know the time you have given is appreciated and worth it. For me, this was most rewarding.

Since joining the CAHF I have been selected by the Mayors Office for London Policing and Crime to become an Independent Custody Visitor. I have also obtained a full time paid position at a leading criminal law firm. I am truly grateful for being selected by the CAHF for a voluntary position, without doing so I would not have realised my full potential as a valid employee and would not be where I am today. Thank you to all at Citizens Advice Hammersmith and Fulham.