CAB Launches Volunteer Recruitment Drive in Stonehaven

By bellmannews / June 3, 2021
Outside of County Building with CAB logos on windows

From Kincardine & Mearns CAB

This is National Volunteer Week and Citizens Advice Bureaux in Aberdeenshire are calling for more local people to join their teams of volunteer advisers.

The CAB in Stonehaven is part of an Aberdeenshire-wide network of local outreach services, and has been physically closed since the initial lockdown last spring, with teams working from home but still providing their service by telephone, email and video platforms. Between them the CABx helped 7,398 local people during the last year, handling debt of £2.8M and helping people receive £5.5M in financial gains. 

Now the CABx are in the process of re-opening their doors to their offices, their managers are calling on local people to consider whether they could give some time to boosting their numbers to help local people during the recovery from the pandemic.

Morag Mitchell, Interim Chief Officer of Kincardine & Mearns Citizens Advice Bureau said: “With the easing of lockdown restrictions, the various support measures that were introduced by the government to help people through the crisis, like furloughs and extra Universal Credit payments, will also disappear. As a result we expect an increase in redundancy, debt and poverty, and these things will lead to a rise in homelessness, failed relationships and even ill-health. 

“People affected by these problems will need our information and advice, so we are gearing up for an increase in demand for our services over the next year or two, and that means we need more advisers. 

“It’s not generally known, but about 75% of people who work in the CAB network are volunteers. We are a charity, and without people giving their time our service would simply have to close down. We are always looking for all sorts of volunteers – we need administrative help, receptionists, cleaners, people with specialist skills, anything that will help us provide our excellent service while keeping costs down. But first and foremost, we need people to give advice to clients.

“So this volunteer week, I am asking anyone who can make a regular commitment of a minimum of 4hrs a week, who would like to acquire new knowledge and learn new skills, and, above all, who is prepared for a challenge, to contact us now, with a view to starting the Bureau’s Adviser Training Programme.” 

The CAB is looking for all types of people to consider volunteering. Mrs Mitchell continues: “Anyone can be a volunteer here, as long as they have some time to give and are prepared to commit to the expert training we provide. If you can give us at least 4 hours a week, we are flexible in terms of which days you work and what hours you would cover.

“We are looking for retired people, part-time workers, unemployed people, students, at-home parents – in fact anyone at all with a bit of time and a desire to help people in their community. There are no age limits and no previous experience is required. We really need you – and if you are interested, we’ll be happy to have an informal chat.

“And of course, I also want to mark this Volunteer Week by saying a huge thank-you to all our current and former volunteers here at the KAMCAB. We wouldn’t be here without you.”  

Karen, who is one of the 15 volunteers already helping run the CAB, said: “Volunteering here is a win-win situation. It’s a terrific place to work. I came here when I retired, because I needed a challenge after a busy working life and I’ve had the most amazing experience; I don’t regret a moment of it.

“There is a great team spirit here, and the knowledge that you are helping people is really satisfying. The people who come through our doors are often very vulnerable. It’s awful to think what would happen if we weren’t here – or if we didn’t have enough time to see them all.

“There are personal advantages as well. Not only do you get to help people who are in difficulty – which is a wonderful thing in itself – but you also learn new skills, gain invaluable experience and meet like-minded folk of all ages and life experience who are also volunteering. Many people come to volunteer at a CAB when they are unemployed or looking to get back into work. The experience of volunteering here actually enhances their CV greatly and makes them more employable. In fact, we’ve lost a number of volunteers that way – that’s one of the reasons why we need more!”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering with Kincardine & Mearns CAB contact the Bureau direct on 01569 766578 or through the CAB website www.kamcab.org.uk or apply here: https://www.cas.org.uk/apply-volunteer and the CAB will contact you.