Volunteering can take many forms — from the frontline, providing invaluable services, to the Boardroom, helping a charity achieve its social purpose.
Here at Citizens Advice Wokingham, our first Board of Trustees met back in 1977 — when it was decided by Wokingham Town Council that the town needed a local CAB as it was back then.
And we’ve come a long way since, evolving and adapting so we can better meet the needs of local people as the town and the times change around us.
I work for a large housing association by day, and I’m passionate about social justice and tackling poverty. I wanted to volunteer, to give something back to the town that I grew up in. I wanted to help, even in a small way, to help make life better for my neighbours and my community.
I spoke to the Wokingham Volunteer Centre who put me in touch with Citizens Advice Wokingham, and I was honoured to join the Board of Trustees around three years ago.
My day job is demanding so I couldn’t commit the day a week like an adviser, so a trustee role was the perfect opportunity for me to influence a high-profile charity working in our area, bringing my knowledge and experience to the table to help Citizens Advice do what they do.
Citizens Advice provides advice and information, helping people to find a way forward. They also campaign for change, using the data and knowledge we have from the clients we see to make things better for everyone.
Our ten talented and dedicated Trustees sit on the Board, taking overall responsibility and leadership of the charity. It’s an important job, we have to make sure the charity has the right strategic, governance and financial foundations so that ultimately our staff and volunteers can do what they do, making the difference for our clients.
And we’re in decent shape. In a recent in-depth audit by the national Citizens Advice, we were judged ‘excellent’ across all 11 leadership areas. Meanwhile, Citizens Advice Wokingham helped over 2,300 clients in 2018/19 with 6,960 issues ranging from help with a benefits application, tackling debt or help understanding a letter.
You can read more about the difference we make in our latest Impact Report.
But there’s work to do, as we plan for the future and make long-term decisions about our strategic direction and values.
In September, two of our experienced Trustees are stepping down, while we’ve got ambitious plans to grow and expand our services, so we’re looking for new Trustees to join the team.
We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in joining the Citizens Advice Board, but we are particularly looking for people with the following skills to help us grow:
- Customer service — Without our clients, there is no Citizens Advice Wokingham. We want to offer a brilliant client journey, so everytime that people interact with us, no matter the circumstances, it’s easy to talk to us and the whole experience is a positive one.
- Technology — How people access services are changing quickly, so we want to use technology to help us maximise the impact of our work and offer a great customer experience, how ever people choose to get in touch.
- People & HR — Citizens Advice Wokingham wouldn’t exist without its staff and volunteers. We want to be a leader in people management and development, helping our people achieve their aspirations and do the best job they can for our clients.
- Governance — Without good governance, no charity would even be able to open its doors. As well as meeting our regulatory responsibilities, we want to get the value out of our Board so we’d welcome someone with experience of supporting a board to be its best.
With all of our roles — we are keen to help give you an insight with your own behind-the-scenes tour. If any of the above roles are of interest to you, please get in touch for an informal chat and we can take it from there.
We have a great team, with nine paid part-time staff and over 70 volunteers. We are open Monday-Friday and operate from two offices, in Wokingham and Woodley, and run a telephone adviceline. We’ve recently started some outreach projects too, so we can be where people need us.
Our charity — and the team in it, make a difference every single day to the lives of people in the borough of Wokingham. It’d be great if you wanted to be a part of it too.
If you’re interested, please take a look at our Trustee profile, you can find out more about our staff, volunteers and trustees or you can visit our website: www.citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk.
And if you want to get in touch, give us a ring on 0118 978 7258 or email us at email@example.com— we look forward to hearing from you.