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Volunteering

Recruiting now.

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

They all help to support our service either through advising the public, back office administration, data analysis and campaigns, engaging with the local community face to face, by phone or in group sessions. All our volunteers are fully trained, and they 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: How to Apply | Volunteer Roles | Volunteering FAQs | Volunteering Case Studies

What to expect

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

We offer training and induction to all our volunteers, and whichever role you do, there will be a named person to supervise you so you always know where to turn for support. Our training is competence based, so we track your development and certificate you to your volunteer role then offer you opportunities to progress to other roles, if that is your goal.

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, and our ultimate goal is that whenever a paid job comes up with us, it is filled by one of our volunteers. By employing our volunteers, 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.

How to apply

If you can see yourself as part of this team, using your skills and learning new ones, giving back to the local community, solving problems and helping those in need whatever their problem, we would love to hear from you.

Please apply by clicking on this online form link. 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.

For some volunteer roles we send you a brief test and then conduct an interview. Some interviews include a practical assessment relevant to that role, for example our Money Skills Trainers do a brief presentation and Assessors do a mock telephone call.

Unfortunately we do not pay travel expenses during the recruitment process. If selected, we pay out of pocket travel expenses for all 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. Further information is in the volunteer application form.

 

Volunteer Roles

Here are the different volunteer roles we recruit for – different roles require different skills and time commitments.

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.

Even if we are not currently recruiting to your chosen role, we welcome your application and will keep your details on file and contact you when the next intake begins.

Assessor (Trainee Adviser)

Commitment: 15 hours per week. Most volunteers do 2 full days but doing the time over 3 or 4 shorter days may be possible. Please be aware this minimum time commitment has been established as necessary to attain the appropriate level of competence in the role.

Role Description: Delivering initial client advice assessments by telephone and face to face from Avonmore Library and outreach locations. You will be exploring the client issue then either giving information, signposting elsewhere, or booking an appointment.

On reaching competence in the Assessor role (which usually takes 30-60 full days of delivery) we certificate you and give you the option to move on to training as an Adviser. Adviser training and development is over a longer period with similar competence-based achievement and certification.

Key Skills 

  • The ability to communicate effectively with clients, to control the conversation, extract key information, research answers and explain options in a way that will be understood by clients with a range of abilities. 
  • Clear spoken and written English (Fluency in other languages is appreciated.)
  • The ability to write objective, succinct case notes that meet our quality standards.
  • Accurate research skills (mainly online) 
  • An organised approach 
  • Confident with using a variety of IT applications and the internet as well as good typing skills. We use Google Workspace, as well as our case management systems and other specific tools – all of which we provide training for
  • Willingness to follow instructions and act positively on feedback and constructive criticism

Applicants for assessor are invited to attend a taster session where they can observe the role and are required to achieve a satisfactory score in a test before interview. Interviews are done by zoom and face-to-face.

Those selected will receive training before going active; training is a mix of face to face group sessions, remote group sessions via zoom, and independent e-learning. You will also spend additional time observing an experienced assessor working at the call centre and reception to see how our service delivery works in practice. We also require you to practise using the key tools and systems so that we can provide feedback on your case notes.

Apply here

Library Support

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

Apply here

Outreach Reception - Shepherds Bush Market or Avonmore Library

Commitment: 4 hour shift (morning or afternoon)- 1-3 days a week- (at least 6 months commitment)

Role description: you will be based at our outreach centre in Shepherds Bush Market or in Avonmore Library supporting a team of Citizens Advice staff and other volunteers providing a range of drop-in advice support services to local people. Our friendly team of supervisors and advisers will always there to support you.

Your role will include:

  • Welcoming clients
  • Triage of clients by asking basic information
  • Managing the queue of clients waiting to see an adviser
  • Signposting clients to other organisations where appropriate
  • Booking appointments for clients
  • Scanning and processing documents
  • Helping the team however you can.

Whatever skills and experience you have to offer, the only prerequisites are patience and empathy. In return, we can offer you training and support, as well as unlimited tea and biscuits. You will develop new skills, make new friends and be part of a great team.

Outreach Volunteer

Commitment: 4 – 24 hours per week – (at least 6 months)

Role Description: You will be based at our outreach centres in Hammersmith & Fulham working with a team of Citizens Advice staff and other volunteers offering a range of drop-in support services to local people including:

  • Advice (delivered our team of advisers)
  • Digital Skills
  • Money Skills
  • Support with finding employment 
  • ESOL classes (English as a second language)
  • Relief from social isolation (tea, chat, games etc.).

As a volunteer, you can get involved with the project in a range of different ways. For instance, you may be welcoming clients to our new outreach centre in Shepherds Bush Market or maybe you’re best suited to teaching digital skills.  We are looking for a wide range of skills and experience but whatever you have to offer, we probably have a role for you – even if it’s just making the tea and chatting to older residents who want some relief from social isolation. The only prerequisites are patience and empathy.

In return, we can offer you training and support as well as unlimited tea and biscuits.  You will develop new skills, make new friends and be part of a great team that won the national Citizens Advice Team of the Year award in 2021.

Apply here

Digital Champion

Commitment: 1-2 half days per week 

Role Description: We support local people who want to learn basic digital skills such as how to make the most of their smartphone or basic laptop functions. Sessions are held at Avonmore Library and in weekly Computer Clubs at outreach locations.  Individual requirements and ability will vary according to the learners’ experience. 

You will:

  • Work with a of team of volunteers to provide 1-to-1 guidance in weekly sessions held at different locations around the borough
  • Assess resident’s initial needs
  • Support learners in weekly sessions and/or ad hoc training requests

Key Skills 

  • Confident using basic computing functions such as setting up an email address, downloading apps, using Microsoft Office or Google Docs.
  • Experience of using different operating systems (Android, IoS and Windows
  • Specific technical expertise is not required as most learners are at basic level.
  • Experience of teaching/mentoring/coaching is an advantage.
  • Patience and empathy essential 

Apply here

Money Skills Trainer

Commitment 3-4 half days per month 

Role Description Would you be happy to stand up in front of a dozen people and talk to them about everyday money management skills? Or deliver a presentation and discussion via Zoom? Or give one-to-one help with budgeting or other basic skills? Our trainers deliver a range of sessions to community groups and at our help hubs to develop basic money skills such as budgeting and saving, and to provide information to help people improve their finances or address financial issues and how to get help. Topics include benefits, wills, pensions, scams and energy bills. Training is provided through shadowing experienced trainers. 

Key Skills

  • Good presentation skills to audiences with a range of abilities and experiences.
  • An ability to adapt delivery style to the needs of the learner
  • Willing to develop and revise training materials for different sessions and audiences. 
  • An organised approach to preparing for sessions.
  • An interest in financial issues that affect the local community

Apply here

Campaigns Volunteer

Campaign work is our twin aim and is about collecting client evidence to challenge local policies or to input nationally to campaign work performed by Citizens Advice. It is particularly relevant to volunteers wanting to get involved with changing social policy and communications.

Commitment minimum 1 day per week

Role Description This role is to work alongside other staff and volunteers in the Campaigns team and will involve a mix of tasks from writing up evidence forms, interviewing clients, involvement in campaign planning, media work and influencing decision makers. Our team will consist of a variety of skills and abilities so please outline which of the list below (or others you feel are relevant) you can add to the team. We do not expect you to have them all.

Key Skills

  • The ability to extract key information from our data and present in a style that clearly summarises the issue and demonstrates impact.
  • The ability to interview clients sensitively to capture and effectively summarise their story.
  • The ability to work independently, to deadlines and to have an organised approach to planning workload.
  • Excellent communication skills, particularly in writing, with attention to detail.
  • The ability to communicate via and to a variety of media (social media, print media, etc).
  • A drive to achieve positive change.

Apply here

Trustee

Commitment
We expect all our volunteers to provide us with a minimum of 6 months’ volunteering. If this is not possible, please contact us to see if we can make alternative arrangements. For trustees this will be a longer commitment of at least one year due to limited frequency of meetings in a year.

Process

For trustee roles we ask applicants to complete an application form, and if shortlisted will be invited to an interview with the Chair of Trustees and CEO as part of our recruitment process. If successful, potential trustees will be invited to attend a Board Meeting as an observer before a final decision is made about appointment to the Board.

Expenses

We do not pay travel expenses during the recruitment process. If selected, we pay out of pocket travel expenses for all attendance at meetings and events.

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.

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?

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 you 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 to our offices 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 you?

Volunteers need to be 16 years or over. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.

Will volunteering with you 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).

Will volunteering with CAHF affect my other benefits?

You should notify the relevant agency before starting your volunteer role if you receive benefits such as New Style ESA, Severe Disablement Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or Carers Allowance. 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?

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.