Volunteering: A Client Success Story

Citizens Advice Bedford is one of the largest information and advice organisations within Bedford Borough. Every year we help people in the community to resolve issues surrounding various areas, notably: benefits, debts, relationships and employment, to name a few.  

During 2018-2019, over 9,000 clients visited our office and received help through our services. When clients visit our office with an issue, they are interviewed by fully trained volunteer Advisers who assist them by providing advice and information to help them resolve their issues.

As we approach the end of this year, we wanted to celebrate our success stories with the rest of the community as a way to thank our volunteer Advisers for the service and help that they provide to the people of Bedford Borough.

Over the past year, the introduction of Universal Credit has affected the lives of thousands of individuals; many have found themselves turning to us for help with the completion of their benefit applications and to resolve problems surrounding their claims for this benefit. One of the common issues that we have found is that some people have had difficulty maintaining their online applications for Universal Credit because either they did not know how to do this or they simply did not have internet access.

In one particular case, a client with a learning disability had made a claim for Universal Credit but had not been able to submit further information relevant to their disability to support their application. Consequently their claim could not be progressed which caused a delay in benefits being paid and was causing the client financial hardship.

One of our volunteer Advisers contacted the benefit agency on the client’s behalf to request that they transferred the client’s claim from an online application to a telephone claim. This meant that going forward the client could contact the benefit agency without requiring someone else’s support.   

During the course of the call, our volunteer Adviser also identified that the original claim that the client had submitted to the benefit agency had incorrect information. Consequently, they were able to rectify this incorrect information and progress the client’s Universal Credit application. Since then, the client has informed us that their claim has been successful in obtaining a monthly benefit award of over £1,200 which has greatly assisted them going forward. The client said they were ‘over the moon’ for the help that the volunteer Adviser had given them in successfully resolving their benefit issue.

We believe that volunteering for Citizens Advice Bedford is a great way for people to connect with the local community whilst at the same time improve communication skills and enhance personal skills. Choosing to volunteer is a rewarding commitment that people make to society that they live in.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer and joining our wonderful team, we would love to hear from you. Submit your online application form today!

Marianna - Recruitment Coordinator

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