Would you like to do something useful and worthwhile?
Citizens Advice Bedford volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and volunteer with us for different reasons. Our volunteer roles are varied, challenging and rewarding and our volunteers really enjoy being able to make a valuable contribution and a positive impact on people’s lives.
As a Citizen Advice Bedford volunteer you don’t need any particular qualifications or experience as we have our own comprehensive accredited training programme that will give you all the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to our clients.
Citizens Advice Bedford is the only charity in Bedford Borough to hold an Advice Quality Standard (AQS) certificate meaning the advice we give to clients is of a high standard.
Our nationally recognised and accredited training programme changes the lives of those who volunteer for us.
In 2018 21% of our volunteers left us with the ability to go into paid work or education and training due to the confidence and skills gained through volunteering at CAB.
We offer three main volunteering roles: Adviser, Client Support Officer and Admin Assistant.
All volunteers must be IT literate and have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Word as well as able to independently use Google to search and extract information.
We welcome people from all age groups and walks of life, although for client facing roles, volunteers must be aged 18 or above. All applications are considered and candidates who demonstrate suitability will be contacted and invited in for interviews.
Want to become a part of us too?
If you can commit to a minimum of 6 hours per week (either a full day or split over 2 days) and be prepared to complete our training programme, we want to hear from you!
Visit our vacancies section here and complete the application form.
See the video below to find out more about volunteering for Citizens Advice Bedford.
See what our volunteers think....
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens after I submit my application?
If your application demonstrates suitability for the role you have applied for, you will be invited for interviewed and required to complete an IT & capability assessment.
I've got specific skills and experience, can I use them?
One of the strengths of Citizens Advice Bedford is the diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences our volunteers bring to their roles. Once you have attended an interview we will be able to tell you more about the specific opportunities that can be offered to you.
You can read what our volunteers do to find out more about some of the typical opportunities available across the service.
Are there certain skills I need to be a Citizens Advice Bedford volunteer?
It will depend on which role you are interested in. All positions receive comprehensive free training so do not need any previous qualifications or experience. However, you will need to be open-minded, non-judgemental, be able to listen, learn, and work in a team. In most other roles, volunteers will usually need some form of prior experience. However, we have a learning environment and volunteering in any role will give you the chance to develop your skills.
What will I get out of volunteering for Citizens Advice Bedford?
All our volunteers get something slightly different from the experience. Some of the most common benefits reported are:
What support will I get as a volunteer?
All volunteers are fully supported and supervised throughout their involvement with Citizens Advice Bedford. There will be a paid member of staff that you can turn to for extra support if you feel you need it. There is an Advice Session Leader on duty at each advice session to guide and assist volunteer advisers. We make sure that you are not put in situations that are beyond your abilities, and will work with you to help ensure that you find volunteering with us both challenging and rewarding.
What is the dress code?
Smart casual is required due to serving members of the public.
Will I get my expenses paid?
In common with many organisations, Citizens Advice Bedford reimburses travel and other out-of-pocket expenses. Volunteers travel expenses will be covered up to a 20 mile round trip at 34pence per mile. Parking fares will also be covered up to £4.00 per day.
This can be discussed further at interview stage.
What time do I have to arrive in the morning?
Volunteers are required to attend our daily operations briefing at 0920hrs so arrival between 0900hrs and 0915hrs is a good time to grab a coffee in preparation to start the day.
I can only volunteer during term time. Will this be a problem?
Once you are trained we can offer flexibility in your volunteering pattern. We would need you to be able to devote up to 3 months to complete your initial training before taking a break if possible.
What are the chances of getting a job afterwards?
Over one third of our staff were previously volunteers at CAB who applied for vacancies through a competitive selection process. A significant number of volunteers who are unemployed leave us go on to paid employment. Citizens Advice Bedford volunteering provides skills and experience that is valued by many employers.
I have recently completed a law degree at University and I would like to volunteer, will it increase my chances of gaining a training contract with a solicitor firm?
We have many volunteers who are recent graduates, typically law but other subjects too.
We find that volunteering at CAB provides a great insight and first-hand experience of managing cases, dealing with people who need help and sometimes in distress. Most of our recent graduate volunteers have successfully gained a deduction of 6 months from their training contracts.
Will volunteering affect the benefits I claim?
Citizens Advice Bedford volunteering should not affect any benefits you claim, but suggest you inform the Job Centre/ Jobcentre Plus office that you're volunteering.
I'm 17 years old, can I volunteer?
For client facing roles you must be at least 18 years of age due to lone working with adults. For non-client facing roles the minimum age is 16.
How long will the training take?
The lenghth of the training depends on the role that you apply for as well as your committment to complete the training. We anticipate all volunteers to be fully competent in their respective roles by the following durations:
Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?
Citizens Advice Bedford has a policy in place to ensure that ex-offenders are treated fairly. Having a criminal record is not, in itself, a barrier to volunteering. We consider each offence individually, looking at issues like risk to the client, how long ago it took place, the circumstances and whether they are relevant to the volunteer role. Anyone with a caution or conviction for a sexual offence against a child or vulnerable adult is considered unsuitable to volunteer.
I've recently been a client or accessed the Citizens Advice service, can I volunteer?
Former clients can, and do, make excellent volunteers in a range of roles. Having lived experience can give you really valuable insight into what it’s like to access the Citizens Advice Bedford service.
I am politically active, is this compatible with CAB impartiality?
CAB is strictly impartial. Whilst volunteering at CAB you will not be permitted to advertise, display or voice support/criticism for any political/protest party to clients or staff/volunteers. In addition, you will not be permitted to highlight your volunteer role i.e. - 'Advisor at Citizens Advice Bedford ‘on social media if you also highlight support for political parties on the same channel.
Can I volunteer remotely?
Yes. Provided that you have access to an internet-connected device, you can volunteer remotely. Our training is made up of E-learnings and online workshops which you can complete from the comfort of your own home. Once you're fully trained, you can continue to volunteer from home.