Volunteer Celebration 2022

DEDICATED volunteers who ensure the success of Citizens’ Advice Rossendale and Hyndburn, CARH, were rewarded with celebration lunches.

In the last year,CARH has dealt with 3,124 clients who raised nearly 20,000 issues.

Local clients have benefitted from nearly £2million that the service has helped them to claim both in benefits, energy cost reductions, consumer issues, food and more.

New Chief Executive Officer of CARH Dave Oglaza has worked for Citizens’ Advice for 17 years in Greater Manchester.

He said: “It is really good here and we have lots of volunteers who have come in during Covid on a limited basis to make sure we could keep providing the service.

“During the pandemic, we have had the busiest time for clients contacting the Citizens’ Advice since it was set up in the Second World War, many callers were concerned about furlough and losing their jobs.”

As part of the national Volunteers Week, three buffets were put on at the Rossendale base at Stubbylee Hall, Bacup, and at New Era in Accrington.

There are 22 volunteers within both areas and three volunteers, Linda Allen, Lesley Matthias and Ed Husband have dedicated 70 years of service between them.

Lesley, 77, said: “It was divorce that brought me to volunteering; I saw an advert in the paper for Citizens’ Advice and another for Rossendale Ladies Choir and I joined both and they have kept me sane.

“I enjoy assisting a client to reach a resolution and sometimes people don’t realise what they can get and what we can do to help them.”

Leoni Barker, 23, initially started as a KickStarter and then got a fixed-term contract working on the Advice Line.

She said: “I am now volunteering a couple of days a week while I apply for jobs. It helps me to keep my hand in and I learn something new every single day. I like helping people.”

Recruitment and Training Officer Lindsey Schultz trains all the volunteers and then Supervisor Anne Morgan manages the Advice Line staff and volunteers.

In July, open days will be held in Rossendale and Accrington so potential volunteers can have a look around and talk to staff and volunteers.

Maddy Khan-Israeel, 23, was the youngest volunteer when she started pre-Covid while completing her foundation degree.

Now volunteering one day a week at Rossendale and Hyndburn, she is the second year of her Psychology degree.

She said: “I wanted to do something in the community to be able to help people who couldn’t access services. My life has been quite sheltered and I found out that a lot of people don’t know how to access help. I love being able to give back.”

Retired senior civil servant Heather Massie has been volunteering for nearly nine years and uses her work skillset to examine complex issues and help clients contacting the Citizens’ Advice.

Anyone who needs help can contact the Advice Line on 0808 278 7975 from 10am to 4pm, from that call they will be signposted to the best help, which will include a face-to-face meeting if necessary.

To inquire about volunteering call 01706 252012.

With thanks to #CatherineSmythMedia http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/