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Volunteers needed for long-standing community service

Napier Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer Alwyn interviews a client

Do you have some spare time on your hands and fancy a good challenge? If so, you could well be the perfect volunteer for Napier Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

The non-profit organisation, which is an integral part of the Napier community providing free, trusted and accurate information and advice, is looking for more volunteers to join their close-knit team.

Traditionally CAB volunteers have been mostly retirees, however, since the emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown, Napier Citizens Advice Bureau Manager, Jenny Pearce, says the older age group are reassessing the quality of their lives and reviewing their commitment to front line voluntary work to care for their own health and safety and quality of life.

The organisation lost 15 volunteers in the months following the Pandemic, leaving them unable to maintain their core services and forcing them to close their offices two afternoons each week.

“Most of our volunteers are of the older age group and concerns about health and family meant they had to prioritise their personal situations, which we support fully,” Jenny says.

With volunteers down and enquiries on the up – also due to COVID-19 and the challenges that stem from it – the Bureau is making a concentrated effort on recruitment with the help of a recently employed fixed-term Volunteer Recruitment Officer, who is funded through the Napier City Council COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

“We are now looking at new innovative recruitment methods by connecting with employers, social groups, Ministry of Social Development.

“Our ideal volunteer would be someone recently retired from a busy working life or a younger adult who can make an ongoing commitment to the organisation.

“We are looking for people who enjoy the challenge of finding correct information from trusted sources. We do a lot of online researching on our own database for information relevant to a client’s issues. They need to be patient and have excellent listening skills, be a team player, have a good sense of humour and most of all care about other people and have a true desire to help.

“Our volunteers receive a thorough induction to ensure they are confident in interacting with customers as well as researching the numerous questions they are presented with.

“The work can be really challenging as you can never predict what questions you will get asked and it’s very much like being employed but without the wages.

“The rewards may not be monetary but our volunteers certainly get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that they have helped someone through a sticky situation, found them relevant options, increased their confidence and empowered them to tackle the issues armed with good solid information.

“In return, we provide our volunteers with ongoing training so they can provide relevant knowledge and services to meet the needs of our community, which are continually changing.”

In order for CAB to offer their full service, 55 volunteers are required to fill various roles, from receptionists to greet customers, to interviewers to research queries, as well as people to go out into the community to assist with presentations and expos.

“CAB is an excellent organisation for people to transfer their skills whilst looking for employment, remain active community citizens, gain new skills and tackle new challenges,” Jenny says.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Napier Citizens Advice Bureau, please contact Jenny by emailing or phone 06 835 9664.

27 April 2021

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