This is the first in our series of the FOCUS ON blog, where we shine a spotlight on PCVS member and partner organisations in the voluntary and community sector. We spoke to Eloise Carrick from Citizens Advice Peterborough to find out what was going on at the charity.
A bit of history on Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Peterborough (CAP) is the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), which was created in September 1939 by the National Council of Social Services to meet the needs of the civilian population in wartime. The number of CABs grew from 200 in 1939 to 1,074 in 1942. CABs supported volunteers who assisted the public with lost rationing books, homelessness, evacuation and locating missing relatives and prisoners of war. After the Second World War, the number of CABs halved but two recessions, a growth in poverty and changes to the benefits system in the 1980-90 resulted in an increased need for them. The CAB had 22,200 volunteers in 2010/11 based in 3,400 community locations alongside paid staff.
The CAB today
PCVS wanted to find out more about what the CAB offers communities in Peterborough today. We asked Volunteer and Training Supervisor Eloise Carrick how Citizens Advice Peterborough supports the local community:
“We offer free, confidential, impartial and independent advice and information services. We are not just here in times of crisis – we also use client’s stories anonymously to campaign for policy changes that benefit the population as a whole. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. Our service aims are to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.”
Then we delved deeper into Eloise’s role as Volunteer and Training Supervisor at CAP:
“I started as an admin volunteer in November 2018. I then started my first paid role on reception in July 2019. I was since promoted to 3 other roles before my current position as Volunteer and Training supervisor. The role includes recruitment, training and managing volunteers, promoting our service and volunteer opportunities, training staff and trustees as well as general day-to-day supervision.”
We also asked Eloise to tell us about some of CAPs latest achievements:
“We are working with PCC and have started a new Income Maximisation Project and now have four paid advisers who are working with individuals and families hit by the cost of living crisis. In the first 8 weeks of working with families (approx. 39 individuals & families), the income maximisation was around £55,000.* We also continue to provide advice services to clients of Peterborough Foodbank for general advice and we have a worker specifically supporting clients with mental health issues.”
CAP currently has 14 paid staff, approximately 20 active volunteers and a trustee board.
If you would like to volunteer with CAP or would like to know more about the support they provide then please check out the CAP website https://www.citapeterborough.org.uk/.
*Income maximisation refers to making sure individuals and families are claiming the right benefits and government grants and are being paid the right wage, etc. More information here https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/dealing-with-your-debts/check-if-you-can-increase-your-income/
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