Volunteering during a pandemic
The number of people showing an interest in volunteering with Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent during the pandemic astounded us. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, we have recruited almost 25 volunteers. Ten have already completed their adviser training and are helping meet the soaring demand for advice.
Since April 1 this year, the volunteers have given us 250 hours of their own time. Often dealing with enquiries that are different to those they would have experienced pre-Covid.
Thorough training is needed to make sure our volunteers have the skills and knowledge to help those who need advice.
We asked our new recruits how they found joining the largest Citizens Advice service in Wales during lockdown.
Teresa Whittington found virtual training efficient and well delivered. She joined the team just before the second lockdown in December.
She said: “The training is well managed, structured and friendly. The web sites make it easy to train. I’m not up and running yet but look forward to providing a service from home. Volunteering from home lets me contribute when I may not have been able to, it’s flexible even though my computer sometimes is not. I can be part of something positive in isolating times.”
Chief Executive Simon Ellington was encouraged to see the new and existing volunteers embrace the technology.
He said: “2020 saw a change to the way we delivered training with Zoom sessions becoming the norm. The training of volunteers has maintained a high standard of advice given. The team has regular live video training sessions, 1:1 review calls and meetings with volunteers from all locations. This has been far more inclusive and is something we would look to continue after restrictions are eased. ”