Volunteer Interview: Ruth
Ruth is one of our newest volunteers who joined us upon completion of her masters degree. She is with us to help her community and to do something worthwhile with her free time.
What is your role at Citizens Advice Barnet?
It’s a challenging but pretty fun role. I do the initial check to assess the priority and seriousness of the issues people come in with. We give them initial information or even help them fill in forms if we can. It’s good because it’s seeing people get the help they need.
Why do you volunteer at Citizens Advice Barnet?
The simple answer is to do something good with my free time – I did a placement at university at Citizens Advice Hanley and I was on the Adviceline there and I really enjoyed it. I like being able to help people and it made me much better in the career field I want to go into.
I learnt how to relate to people in difficult situations and about the enquiry areas that are common with the people we see. After my masters, I ended up in Barnet and came to Citizens Advice Barnet.
Is there anything you’ve done while volunteering with us that you’re particularly proud of?
I helped a specific person who was unable to speak. At first she was hesitant, but I realised she couldn’t speak and gave her a notebook and we found a way to communicate well. She seemed happy and relieved that we could communicate despite the different mediums. I managed to get her an appointment with an adviser that day. Her happiness made me proud and she came back to see me and tell me that she was grateful.
Another person came with a housing issue with her landlord and we were able to get her an appointment with an adviser. I wasn’t sure how helpful I’d been as I’d only given initial information, but then two weeks later she came for the appointment and I was shadowing her adviser and she was so happy to see me there!
What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering at CAB?
I think it seems like a job that is difficult on paper, but once you’re here and you do the training and you have support around you, you’re able to adapt really quickly and it gets more rewarding the better you get!
There are some cases when people get the information they need and it solves their issue. You can just see the relief on their faces.