Donate

Volunteer

Our work would not be possible without our volunteers. If you want a volunteer role that will make use of your skills and help you to develop new ones, while making a meaningful impact in Bristol, there are lots of ways to get involved.

You could train as an adviser or gateway assessor, be the face of our organisation at the reception desk or work behind the scenes in admin, lend a hand in campaigns, spice up our social media or even become a trustee!

Click on the roles below to find out more. If any of them interest you then download an application pack and return in to admin@bristolcab.org.uk. Or just pop it in an envelope and post it to us.

Current voluntary roles

We rely on the work of volunteers to deliver advice services to clients.
Almost all clients approaching Citizens Advice Bristol will initially be interviewed by a volunteer and the majority of clients who do require further detailed advice will also receive that advice from a volunteer.

If you are interested in applying, please read our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.

What does a volunteer adviser do?

After undergoing comprehensive training, you will be advising on a wide range of enquiry areas including welfare rights, debt and money, housing, employment, family issues, immigration and consumer rights.

As an adviser, you will typically see clients for one hour advice appointments. During this appointment, you will gather information from the client, carry out research and then advise the client on the options available to them. In some instances, you may also need to help the client with filling in forms, writing letters or contacting third parties on their behalf.

The role of a volunteer adviser is demanding and can sometimes be challenging, it is however extremely rewarding and enjoyable.

What will I gain from volunteering as an adviser?

If you are looking for experience to help you get back into work, want to develop new activities in your retirement or want to have an outside activity that balances your caring responsibilities then this could be you.

We do not ask for a minimum time commitment from volunteers but hope that most will stay for a few years, although we understand that ‘life happens’ and you may need to move sooner.

What training and support will I get?

As a volunteer you will always have the support of paid staff to guide and assist you in your work with clients.

Before starting to work with clients, all advisers receive comprehensive training.
The initial training takes around 5 months. You will need to commit to one full day of training per week and set aside at least half a day for homework.

After this initial training period, you will begin working with clients as a trainee adviser. The commitment required at this stage and thereafter is two half-day sessions or one full day a week, including the occasional Saturday morning every 6-8 weeks.

To complete the full training usually takes around 12 months.

This is a huge investment on our part and we hope that most of those that train with us are able to stay and be part of our service for many years to come.

What skills and qualifications do I need?

We aim to recruit volunteers from all sections of the Bristol community and so you do not need any particular qualifications or experience to apply. Our application questions are deliberately open-ended to encourage as many applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and diversity of skills. However, you will need to be fluent in English and to have basic numeracy skills.

We particularly welcome applicants from underrepresented sections of the community including those from a black or ethnic minority background and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We are also interested in hearing from applicants who speak another language such as Polish, Somali, Arabic or any other community language.

Above all, we are simply looking for people who have a genuine interest in helping others and who have the time available to make the commitment.

How many trainee advisers do you take on?

We run two – three training groups each year and each group is comprised of 10 – 12 trainees.

How long before I am contacted for an interview?

All applicants are contacted for an interview so please ensure you provide up to date contact information and include any times when you are not available.

Please keep checking our website for updates of when the next training session will begin.

If you apply before we announce the next training session, we will keep your application until we begin the next intake.

How soon after the interview will I be told I have a place on the training group?

We typically conduct interviews within one week and aim to respond to all interviewees one week after we have finished.

I have worked as an adviser in another Citizens Advice office. Can I apply?

If you have recently worked for another CAB and have completed your adviser training, we would like to hear from you.

Please email admin@bristolcab.org.uk along with a completed application form highlighting your previous experience and the level of advice you were involved in.

I am a university student. Can I apply?

We do not exclude students from applying to become an adviser and do get many applications from law and non-law students alike. In practice however students have struggled to maintain the level of commitment we expect (minimum one full day a week for 6 – 12months). Moreover, our training group cannot accommodate busy exam periods or term breaks and missing large chunks of training sessions will inevitably lead to you falling behind with the rest of the group.

As an alternative, we would encourage university students to apply to volunteer in other parts of our office.

How do I apply?

If you are interested in applying, please download our application form and our monitoring form and email admin@bristolcab.org.uk . Alternatively, you can post your completed application form to: Admin, Citizens Advice Bristol, 48 Fairfax Street, Bristol BS1 3BL

If you have specific access needs, please let us know in your application.

“A dynamic role that keeps you on your toes!” – Volunteer receptionist for 2 years

What does the role involve?

This is a great opportunity to gain experience in a demanding role that encompasses all aspects of reception administration, information support and customer service.

You will be involved, amongst other things, greeting new clients to our service, processing client information, signposting people to other local organisations and services, assisting people to access computers, supporting clients to complete forms, scribing letters, supporting the general administration of the organisation.

What skills do I need for the role?

To volunteer with Citizens Advice Bristol you need to be comfortable using a computer, like meeting new people, have a friendly manner, willing to learn new skills and generally getting involved with all aspects of the role.

What commitment must I give to the role?

For this role you must be able to volunteer for two sessions a week, Monday to Friday either between 9 am and 1 pm or 1 pm and 4:30 pm (these can be on the same day).

We ask that volunteers commit to a minimum of 4 – 6 months as there are lots of areas to the role that take time to learn and develop.

What training will I receive?

There is a one day training course before you start volunteering with us. All successful applicants must be able to attend.
Thereafter, training will be provided in situ and as needs required.

How can I apply?

If you are interested in applying please download our application form and monitoring form and submit them to admin@bristolcab.org.uk.

By Christmas 2018 the Board of Citizens Advice Bristol needs to recruit some new Trustees. We welcome applications from all suitably interested and competent people. However, to complement the existing profile of our Board members, and to reflect the main groups that seek help from Bristol Citizens Advice, we are specifically looking for:

  • People in their 20’s and 30’s
  • People who are from Bristol’s main minority ethnic communities
  • People who know about the evolving strategy and organisation of the health sector in Bristol

In view of our plan to diversify funding over the next 2 years we would also welcome

  • People with a background in fundraising from businesses and individuals

If you feel you have the relevant experience and knowledge, then this is an excellent opportunity to make a difference within a leading local charity. If you are interested in applying, please download our application form and monitoring form and submit them to admin@bristolcab.org.uk.

FAQs

What does it mean to be a Trustee of a local charity?

Our trustees are volunteers who exercise overall responsibility for the strategic direction, organisational policy and planning, finance and decision-making of the organisation. The Board members act collectively as a team to provide leadership and ensure good governance. These are non-political appointments.

What will I have to do?

Ensure that the charity stays true to its purposes and meets Citizens Advice service standards

Ensure the charity’s financial stability and sustainability.

Support and scrutiny of the Director

Contribute ideas and expertise to the development of the organisation

Safeguard the reputation of the charity and represent it positively in all external situations

Read all relevant papers, contribute actively to discussion, support and challenge the senior management

Undertake relevant training and updating

How much time will I need to give to do a decent job?

Board meetings are held on Tuesdays 6-8pm every 6 weeks at our central Bristol offices. We also hold a couple of full or half day events each year involving Trustees. We share materials and documents in between meetings using a shared Googledrive which Trustees can access from home.

Initially you may need to devote the equivalent of couple of days a month to the familiarising yourself with role.  Then you will need the equivalent of about a day a month, more if you have time! There are currently no sub-committees, though occasional short life task groups are set up.

How long do you expect me to serve as a Trustee?

A minimum of 3 years

Are you willing to take on someone who has never been a Trustee before?

Yes we are, and experienced trustees will act as mentors to support you via telephone and email.

If you have already been a charity trustee, or had a similar role, such as school governor, or managed a charity yourself, we will value that experience.

Do I need to know a lot about the work of Citizens Advice?

No, but you need to be in tune with our values and social justice mission.

We will provide a thorough induction and opportunities to hear from front line staff and volunteers.

Do I need to have a legal, financial or senior managerial background?

No, but do tell us if you can offer specific skills and expertise in areas required by any organisation, such as finance, PR and media, human resources, fundraising, IT, data management or law.

What specific expertise does the Board need right now?

  • People in their 20’s and 30’s
  • People who are from Bristol’s main minority ethnic communities
  • People who know about the evolving strategy and organisation of the health sector in Bristol

In view of our plan to diversify funding over the next 2 years we would also welcome

  • People with a background in fundraising from businesses and individuals

Will I get any training and support for the role?

We provide Induction and a mentor if you want one. We ask all trustees to complete e-learning modules provided by Citizens Advice to familiarise Trustees with their roles and responsibilities.

There are ongoing opportunities to attend training days, conferences and internet forums on specific topics with trustees of other local Citizens Advice across the country.

All trustees have a one to one meeting with the Chair each year to discuss their contribution and any development needs

Will I be liable for anything?

Citizens Advice Bristol is an incorporated charity.  Trustees bear no personal financial liability

What can I gain from volunteering as a Trustee with Citizens Advice Bristol?

  • A chance to make a difference within your community
  • Use your skills and experience in a new context
  • Learn how a charity operates
  • Learn about the impact of high quality, impartial advice
  • Understand the strategic role of Trustee Boards
  • Contribute to the future direction and sustainability of a key local organisation
  • Work with people from a wide range of backgrounds engaged around a common purpose
  • Something a bit different for your CV!

Can I see what you do before I commit myself?

We invite potential trustees to visit our premises and observe a Board meeting before they commit

Who can I talk to for more insight into the role and the organisation?

Lois Thorn, Chair of Trustees. Contact her by email in the first instance:
Lois.thorn@citizensadvicebristol.org.uk