On Friday 1st June, Prime Minister and local MP Theresa May, The Mayor and The Mayoress of RBWM spent time with the volunteers and staff of Citizens Advice Maidenhead & Windsor. They were attending the launch of Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1st – 7th of June. They were able to meet more than 30 of the volunteers who, between them, dedicate 18000 hours of their personal time every year to helping residents of the Royal Borough and people who work here. The Prime Minister said “I was very pleased to join the Citizens Advice Service in celebrating the work and contribution of all the volunteers who give their time to help others. Collectively, the number of hours given to help some of the most vulnerable people in our community is hugely valuable. So I want to thank all those who give up so much of their time as it makes a real difference.”
The impact of Citizens Advice on the local community is significant. Every year the free to all advice service helps over 4000 clients and deals with around 10,000 problems in total. The volunteers answer 1,600 phone calls every year and assist hundreds more by email. A home visiting service provides vital support to people who are housebound. Overall Citizens Advice has helped to put nearly back more £530,000 into the pockets of local residents by solving debt problems or making sure people get the benefits to which they’re entitled.
All this is achieved with a small paid staff and 60 volunteers who contribute not only their time and energy but also many different skills. These volunteers are highly trained and often specialists in particular fields, such as welfare benefits or mental health. The Citizens Advice service offers volunteers a chance to get involved in many different roles including as advisers, administrators, IT support, fundraisers and trustees.
At the launch event special awards were made to Bob and Joan for their work on benefit tribunals. In the last year alone they have won 44 cases in court helping local people get the benefits to which they are entitled. The Rt Honourable Theresa May presented Bob and Joan with hampers, kindly donated by Windsor Farm Shop. Special thanks also went to the volunteers who helped make this event happen, Tweedy’s Cake for donating a celebratory cake and Eileanór Rose Vintage Crockery services for loaning the very pretty china.
Chris O’Hare, CEO of Citizens Advice Maidenhead & Windsor, commented: “It’s wonderful to take this opportunity to celebrate the dedication of our volunteers. What they have achieved for local people over the years is extraordinary. We are a charity dependent on volunteers and funding from our sponsors. I would like to say a huge thank you to our local authority for providing the majority of our funds, to the Baylis Trust for its significant contribution every year and to all our other sponsors who make such a difference to the service we can provide. We’re always looking for new volunteers so, if you would like to help people in your area, or send an email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.