Volunteer Interview: Fran

fran face - Fran anon

Introducing Fran, a former civil servant who joined Citizens Advice Barnet to continue making a difference in her retirement.


What brought you to volunteer with us?

I retired from the Civil Service last year after 35 years mostly spent in the various different versions of the Department of Trade and Industry, now Department for Business and Trade. I held many different posts during those years including computer programmer, programme and project manager, and policy lead.

I wanted to continue to do something useful and to learn something new as well as meet new people. Citizens Advice seemed to encapsulate all of these opportunities. So after a few months enjoying my new freedom I applied for a front-of-house role.

What is your role at Citizens Advice Barnet?

I meet and greet people arriving for their appointments and make sure that the appropriate forms have been completed. I answer the phone and sometimes reschedule appointments for those that can not attend as well as phoning to remind people of their upcoming appointments. Clients sometimes drop off documents that must be scanned and attached to their case notes. I talk to people who turn up without an appointment and signpost them to the website and helpline. Sometimes a bit more is needed and I will try and help by describing processes, reading and explaining official letters and providing reassurance where needed, always with the support and advice of a supervisor.


Why do you volunteer at Citizens Advice Barnet?

I volunteer to enjoy myself and learn new skills while also hopefully helping others.


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

One day a very distressed young person arrived at the office. She had no appointment but had been unable to talk to anyone about her situation. She was facing some very difficult life challenges and felt that nobody cared or would listen to her. I was pleased that I was able to spend the time to listen and talk to her and by the time she left she was less distressed and anxious than when she arrived.


What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering at Citizens Advice Barnet?

What’s stopping you?



If you’re interested learning more about volunteering with Citizens Advice Barnet you can find out more here.