With well over a thousand and a half volunteers and staff, Citizens Advice Cymru dealt with around 400,000 issues last year, 16% more than the previous year. Debt, benefits and tax credits are some of the main issues they deal with, issues which affect the health and wellbeing of all communities. For a taste of the kind of work they do, go to their You Tube channel.
Branwen Thomas is a busy grandmother, having worked previously as both a teacher and a consellor for Relate. She decided to give Citizens Advice a go after losing her husband suddenly a few years ago.
She went to one of the information sessions that are held by her local bureau in Swansea, and put in her application for training immediately. 'The training I received was both very interesting and professional, and I've been volunteering for over three and a half years, but I've had full support all this time. Even though I'm quite a confident person, I'm never worried about asking for help', she says.
There are a whole range of opportunities available to gain experience in different fields within Citizens Advice. It's possible to volunteer for as little as three hours per week, but Branwen gives six hours to her local bureau, and divides the time between face to face work and taking call on the Advice Line.
The bilingual line offers information to all who call, including suggestions about other relevant local organisations which could help, according to the needs of the caller. When asked whether she would recommend to anyone that they volunteer with Citizens Advice, she said 'But of course, volunteering like this has given me a new lease of life. I take great pleasure in knowing that I've made a difference to someone else's life by helping to solve their problems. I'd challenge anyone to give it a go, and do something a bit different like this!'.
If you'd like more information about volunteering with Citizens Advice, follow this link.
© 2012 S4C
O Gymru / Made in Wales