Volunteer Interview: Tim

Tim was a generalist adviser at Citizens Advice Barnet from 2018 to 2023.

  1. What is your role at Citizens Advice Barnet?

I was a generalist adviser. I provided information on a full range of issues that might interest our clients. If they had specialist needs, I would pass them on appropriately. 


  1. Why do you volunteer at Citizens Advice Barnet?

I was a scientist all my working life – but had always been interested in politics and economics. So when I retired, I decided to pursue a politics degree. But, after a year, I decided I was more interested in the practical – in terms of helping everyday people. I ended up at Citizens Advice Barnet and I stayed for five years. I certainly preferred that to sitting in my ivory tower. 


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

There were a number of times when a person would come to us with huge debts – say £20,000 in rent arrears and £10,000 in council tax arrears. After listening to his/her story, and sitting down to investigate it with my colleagues, we found that it was ultimately down to a basic administrative mistake years in the past. We were able to contact Barnet, clarify the situation and wipe out that debt. The relief for that person – one that was really life changing – was hugely rewarding. 


Sometimes, people got themselves into difficult positions and all they really needed was a few interested people to help them; it could make a huge impact on their lives. 


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

I would say that I think that it is a great thing to do. I think I got more out of it than I put in. I met a lot of interesting and caring people. There was a great training course for us all and I learned a lot about benefits and the law. I enjoyed my five years very much. I would strongly recommend it to anybody.