We are looking for a new Chair and this is why you should consider it

Jake Morrison
Mar 5, 2020 · 6 min read

Every day over the last 17 months I’ve been proud to work as Chief Executive here at Citizens Advice Wokingham.

Whilst we start our search for a new Chair, I wanted to take the opportunity to write about why I think you should be considering it.

Feedback from our clients during 2019

Citizens Advice Wokingham is a small local charity making a big impact across our communities, and we are proud to be part of the wider Citizens Advice network.

Our story started in 1977, when the Town Clerk in Wokingham, Richard Rees, made it his mission to have a Citizens Advice based in the area — and we have provided a service across the borough ever since, starting with just 10 volunteers in a room in Wokingham Town Hall.

Fast forward to April 2019 and to date (4th March), we have helped 2,164 people (a 13.5% increase on the previous year) with 6,067 issues.

Our dedicated volunteers and staff have secured great outcomes on those cases — with £622,090 of income gain (a 107% increase) and £311,456 of debts written off (a 150% increase) for our clients. All in a service that is provided free of charge to all people living or working in the borough.

At Citizens Advice we provide advice and information to help people overcome their problems — we support people with queries around welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment law, discrimination and much more — including helping people understand their rights.

The people we help say:

The adviser was really helpful and listened to me carefully. I feel so much better and confident after having spoken to her.

I’m leaving happier than when I arrived. Thank you.

We are also a front door to many other services — we are often a safe feeling space for people to explore their options and identify next steps, guided by high quality advice, information and an understanding of services in the area.

And we also give people opportunities.

We currently have 74 passionate and dedicated volunteers and 10 part time hard working staff working with us.

Some volunteers join us for a hobby and some join to gain skills or confidence for employment. We are proud to have been awarded an Inclusive Employer award by Optalis — for offering regular work placements for people with learning disabilities. We also take university students in placement — often studying law.

A university student who volunteered with us last year wrote this on our making a difference wall:

This attitude of optimism and encouragement within the office has helped me grow massively in confidence

Our ‘making a difference’ wall — full of quotes from staff and volunteers about why they’re proud to be part of our team

What do we do? A snapchat of our services

  • We provide a core service, funded by Wokingham Borough Council and our town and parish councils. This is in the form of a drop-in service at Waterford House in Wokingham Town Centre and in Woodley. This also funds our five day a week telephone adviceline and email advice. Our core service triages people through assessments, and provides follow-up appointments where necessary
Volunteers, staff, funders, MPs and other charities at our Royal Visit in September 2019

So why should you join us?

  • In our annual people survey in 2019, 98% of our staff and volunteers said that they would recommend this as a place to work or volunteer (up from 83% in 2018)

There is so much more I could say about what we are doing, about our impact and the reasons you should join.

HRH The Princess Royal and CEO Jake Morrison in September 2019

The challenges for a new Chair will be strategic, how do we continue moving forward — comfortably positioning ourselves as the go-to charity in Wokingham, working with our knowledgable trustees to get the most out of their skills. We need someone who can champion and support our team, whilst positively challenging us to always do better.

If you are looking to have a key influential role in supporting our communities, give this role a thought. We operate an open door policy for anyone who wants to find out more about our services — do get in touch with us if you would like to visit and meet with myself and our colleagues.

Could you be our next Chair to support us on our next chapter?

To arrange a visit, have a chat or find out more information about the role please email jake.morrrison@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk or call 0118 978 7258.

Visit our website www.citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk to see more about our work.

Citizens Advice Wokingham

Helping the people of Wokingham with free, independent and…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store