Frequently asked questions
This page should answer your immediate questions about volunteering for Burnley & Pendle Citizens Advice. If you have specific questions that aren’t covered here, please contact a supervisor at one of our branches. Branch details can be found on our homepage under ‘Our Services’.
Please contact on 01282 450535 and ask to speak to a supervisor. Alternatively, you may complete the volunteer application form available on the right hand side of this page.
We will send you more information about the work that we do, and about volunteering opportunities specific to our service. We will then invite you for an informal chat, and you will be asked to fill in an application form. You will then be invited to an interview, and providing that all parties are happy that you are right for the role you wish to volunteer for, you’ll start volunteering shortly afterwards. You will receive a full induction on commencement.
Yes, but remember the application form and interview is a two-way process. It enables us to find out more about you, to ensure that you are suitable for the role, but also enables you to ensure that the volunteering opportunity meets your needs and interests.
One of the strengths of our service is the diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences our volunteers bring to their roles. Naturally, our different hubs have different opportunities available according to their needs. We will be able to tell you more about the specific opportunities we can offer you when you get in touch.
It will depend on which role you are interested in. All Advisers receive comprehensive free training so you do not need any previous qualifications or experience. However, you will need to be open-minded, non-judgemental, be able to listen, learn and work in a team. In most other roles, volunteers will usually need some form of prior experience. However, we are a learning environment and volunteering in any role will give you the chance to develop your skills.
All our volunteers get something slightly different from the experience. Some of the most common benefits reported are:
- Making a difference to an individual’s life
- Changing the way things work for the better
- Receiving highly respected training
- Getting invaluable work experience
- Developing new skills
- Putting existing skills to good use
- Getting involved with the community
- Making new friends.
All Advisers receive comprehensive free training, which is recognised and respected throughout the country. The training programme consists of observation, working through self-study packs, and a three day course run by Citizens Advice. You will be supported throughout your training by an in-bureau supervisor. We have several trainees at any one time, so you are likely to be training with other volunteers. We find that most people complete the Adviser training programme in 6-12 months, although this will, of course, depend on how much time you are able to commit to it.
All volunteers are fully supported and supervised throughout their involvement with us. There will be a paid member of staff that you can turn to for extra support if you feel you need it. There is an Advice Session Supervisor on duty at each advice session to guide and assist volunteer advisers. We make sure that you are not put in situations that are beyond your abilities and we will work with you to help ensure that you find volunteering with us both challenging and rewarding.
Volunteering will not affect Universal Credit provided you:
- remain available for and are actively seeking a full time paid job
- take reasonable steps to find a job (e.g. answering adverts, signing up with an agency and taking other steps required by the Jobcentre Plus office)
- inform the Job Centre/ Jobcentre Plus office that you are volunteering
- can attend interview within 48 hours and take up work within one week
- can be contacted whilst volunteering if a job opportunity becomes available
- can be available at a week’s notice to start work or attend an interview with 48 hours’ notice
Volunteering should not affect support as long as you are not receiving any money other than reimbursement of expenses. We can help you by providing a standard letter stating that you receive no remuneration, only reimbursement of actual out-of-pocket expenses.
If you receive benefits then you should notify the relevant agency before starting voluntary work with us.
There is no minimum time requirement to volunteer. You should discuss the time you have available with us. However, we do ask that volunteers aim to stay with us for at least eight months so that you are able to achieve the necessary qualifications.
We are open weekdays during office hours. We have four hubs and so opening times vary slightly at each. If you would like more information on opening times, please take a look at ‘our services’ page available on our homepage.
We will reimburse travel and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Once you have contacted us, we will arrange to have a chat with you to talk through your options, discuss the role you are interested in and when you can start. We generally want you to start as soon as possible.
Nearly one third of volunteers who leave us go on to paid employment. Volunteering provides skills and experience that is valued by many employers. Many of our paid staff started out as volunteers.
Volunteers need to be 16 or over. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.