Volunteer Interview: Danielle

Danielle previously worked as a broadcast journalist specialising in economics, business and finance. She’s been volunteering with Citizens Advice Barnet for over eight years.


  1. What is your role at Citizens Advice Barnet?

I’m a generalist adviser. I tend to deal with people who have benefit issues and priority debts – rent and council tax arrears, tv licence debt, and energy debt. I help people to understand their situation and, if necessary, contact the authorities if things have gone wrong. Hopefully, I can get them back on the right track.


  1. Why do you volunteer at Citizens Advice Barnet?

I want to volunteer in an organisation that really makes a difference and where I’m really involved on the frontline. I also live in Barnet and I want to do what I can for my community.

At Citizens Advice Barnet, I work with a fantastic group of people in an organisation doing the best it can to serve its community, picking up the pieces, and battling for people who, for whatever reason, find themselves unable to deal with the situations they find themselves in. 

Practically speaking, when my family responsibilities ended, I needed something to do. Especially during lockdown, volunteering at Citizens Advice Barnet has given me a structure and a purpose. I’ve been here about eight years now.

  1. Is there anything you’ve done while volunteering with us that you’re particularly proud of?

Highlights for me include experiencing the gratitude of people for whom you have really done very little, but who have struggled to find anyone else to listen to them and winning people over who arrive worn down by their problems and giving them the confidence to progress.

The simplest cases can sometimes be the most satisfying. There are some that you go backwards and forwards, ,you do emails, and then you get to the end and it’s very gratifying. But, there are others where you can spot something very straightforward that really helps. For example, a person came in and she’d been sent a huge overpayment notice and was really upset. In the course of the appointment, she mentioned that, only last year, she applied for bankruptcy; this meant she could add the debt to the bankruptcy and didn’t have to worry about the overpayment. It made a massive difference to her – it would’ve been easy to miss – but with the information, it was easily solved. 


  1. What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering at CAB?

Go for it! I think it’s fantastically rewarding. It requires commitment, but you won’t regret it.