Advice Centre Volunteer
Working one to one with our clients and supporting them to complete disability benefit forms is a massive help to our Advice Centre. Our information and advice desk is always busy, so if you think you could help us, have a look at our volunteering opportunity.
We have three separate roles available:
Desk Volunteer provide information, advice and support to users of the centre by telephone or email. Conduct research in order to respond to complicated enquiries. Feed information back to the Advice Centre team, where possible.Identify and book form-filling appointments. Update the Outlook email calendar and database with a record of each appointment booked.
Drop-in Volunteer To greet clients when they arrive, making them feel comfortable and welcomed. Provide one-one information, advice and support within a drop in session (15-20 minutes each session). To contact other agencies e.g. DWP, with the client present at the appointment and with consent. Conduct research in order to respond to complicated enquiries. Feed information back to the Advice Centre team, where possible.
Appointments Volunteer to assist clients to complete applications for a range of disability related benefits with full, relevant and accurate details. To provide one-to-one appointments to clients of the Advice Centre either in person or by phone.
All roles can be involved in the following: Use an online database to complete a record sheet for each contact made to the centre. Provide, wherever possible, options to service users in order that they may make an informed choice(s) regarding their enquiry. Signpost to other services where necessary. Carry out general project admin such as scanning, printing letters and photocopying. To take the necessary time to build trust and confidence with clients. Maintain confidentially on all enquiries received by the Advice Centre, and all information regarding any service user. To provide clear and accurate advice about the process of applying for the given benefit.
Desk Volunteer Can you offer 1 regular shift a week on a day which is convenient to you? We need volunteers from Monday to Friday between 10 am & 1pm or 1pm & 4pm.
Drop-in Volunteers Drop-ins are held on Monday and Fridays, 10am-3pm. To offer a regular shift and time each week, however we are flexible on the times within these days.
Appointment Volunteer To offer at least 1 appointment of approximately 2 hours per week, between 10m-4pm, Mondays to Fridays.
Support offered: Each volunteer will attend a group induction session with the Compliance and Services Lead in order to familiarise themselves with the overall working practices of the organisation and to prepare for their volunteering role. Volunteers will have 1:1s every three months with a member of the Advice Centre staff team. Appointment and Drop-in Volunteers are expected to shadow at least 2 appointments and have their first 2 appointments shadowed by a staff member before working 1:1 with clients. Desk Volunteers will spend time with an advisor and shadow other volunteers. Volunteers always work with a member of staff and are made to feel welcome as part of the Advice Centre team.
Can you provide the following?:
-Experience and awareness of disability issues. You do not have to identify as a disabled person to be involved.
-Knowledge or willingness to learn about the social model of disability.
- A commitment to the principles of equal opportunities for all service users.
-A friendly and supportive telephone manner (if providing phone support).
-An ability to use one’s own initiative and conduct research into areas of enquiry and then communicate this effectively to service users.
-A good understanding of computers and Outlook (although training given).
-A commitment to the provision of quality services and support for disabled people. Good communication and interpersonal skills.
-To demonstrate empathy with the client and be able to understand their emotional needs. Ability to discuss issues of a personal nature with a sensitive and non-judgemental approach.
-An ability to use one’s own initiative and work 1:1 with clients (with support of the staff team) (this is for drop-in and appointment volunteers).
Maybe you have done or have some of these?These are some skills, knowledge and experience we are looking for. However, if you don’t have these don’t worry as we can offer training and development within these areas.
- Some experience of working with the public.
-Knowledge and understanding or experience of disability and mental health issues.
-Some knowledge of disability-related benefits.
-Knowledge of local service provision.
-Ability to deal with occasional challenging situations and behaviours.
-Some experience of completing benefit forms.
-Some experience of conducting benefits appeal work.
-Some experience of working with people with complex needs.
-An opportunity to offer your skills and experience.
-The chance to build confidence, self-esteem and make a difference.
-Access a range of free courses, including equality, welfare rights, working with vulnerable people etc. through the volunteer training budget.
-To work alongside other people to do things which you wouldn't or couldn’t do alone e.g. challenging discrimination, reviewing services, delivering training.
-To help yourself and other disabled people be properly included in your community, at work, at home, socially and in the wider world.
-Join a team committed to better, more equal and inclusive public services.
-Meet new people.
-Learn new skills, develop your C.V. and gain work references.
When do I need to be available?
- Administration and Office
- Advice and Information
- Computers, IT and Websites
- General Helping
- Practical Skills
- Supporting Charities
- Supporting People and Befriending
- Disabled Access
- Equal Opportunities Policy or Statement
- Health and Safety
- Support on Offer