• Mark

I was driven by helping others and during a difficult time when many felt completely powerless...

I decided to join Citizens Advice Bedford because during one of the many lockdowns I had the opportunity to look at what was important to me and how I wanted my future to look. I realised I was driven by helping others and during a difficult time when many felt completely powerless, I wanted to take some form of positive action rather than shouting at the TV about it! On a personal front, I had found myself completely lacking in confidence and feeling a bit lost after spending the last few years focussing on my family so wanted to push myself into taking a new challenge that was driven by my passions.

The application process was incredibly straightforward and very quick! I saw a post on a job advert site and sent off my CV without thinking much about it but then received a call to discuss my application and invite me to an interview via video call. Technology was not exactly on my side at the time, but the recruitment coordinator was really understanding which allowed me to relax into the interview and not stress quite as much. Every stage was clearly outlined, and I was always kept up to date with the process which was important to me as I do not like waiting around with no information!

For me, the training has been second to none and I have learned so much about such a wide range of areas. Everything has been conducted via video calls using online learning and the training coordinator has been stellar at ensuring the workload was manageable and it was spaced out, allowing the flexibility to work around my family. I really appreciated that I was not simply given reams of information to learn but it was always explained exactly why it was relevant and how it would be applied to my role which made it a lot easier. I was worried I would feel isolated as I was completing all this work at home, but I was well supported and felt part of a team - plus those training calls were a welcome break from home-schooling!

I have loved many aspects of the role, especially being able to help others in their time of need, but personally, I have loved the ethos the charity has towards volunteers. Like many people, I had a spell of struggling with the mental impact of the last year and I was scared I would not be able to continue with my volunteering. When I nervously explained my situation, I thought I would be told I was no longer needed but the reality was the complete opposite. I was given the opportunity to take some time away for myself, offered support if I needed it, and upon my return, I was able to change my work slightly to accommodate my needs. This gave me the confidence that even when times were difficult, I remained a valued part of the service and not merely a faceless volunteer.

#citizensadvicebedford #citizensadvice #volunteering

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