King’s Lynn Citizens’ Advice group appeals for new volunteers amid need increase worry

King's Lynn Citizens Advice appeal for more volunteers'LtoR, Jo Jones, Alan Ball, Juha Kivi, Simmy Potter, Alex Newnham, Marie Proffit, Helen Scott, Zilvinas Butauskas. ANL-151214-133944009
King's Lynn Citizens Advice appeal for more volunteers'LtoR, Jo Jones, Alan Ball, Juha Kivi, Simmy Potter, Alex Newnham, Marie Proffit, Helen Scott, Zilvinas Butauskas. ANL-151214-133944009
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New volunteers are being urged to sign up to help Lynn’s Citizens Advice branch to expand its services.

The group, which is based in White’s House, St Nicholas Street, currently has around 20 volunteers and runs a drop-in service on four days each week, with a further day of pre-arranged appointments.

But officials are hoping they may be able to encourage at least 15 additional recruits to sign up.

And Chris Claxton-Shirley, a money skills volunteer co-ordinator who works in Lynn and Yarmouth, said: “If we have more people, we may be able to extend our hours.”

Citizens’ Advice can provide help and support on a wide range of subjects, including legal and consumer rights, relationships, housing and accessing education and health services.

But latest figures from the Lynn branch, covering the year to the end of March, showed that the largest proportion of people who contacted the group, more than a third, were seeking advice about debt problems.

Another 30 per cent were also seeking help to deal with benefit problems, while the third largest group, around six per cent, had concerns about employment.

And, like officials from other voluntary sector groups, Mr Claxton-Shirley is concerned about how the implementation of government welfare reforms may affect them.

He said: “We envisage that the demand is going to increase.”

The Lynn branch is currently open for walk-in consultations on Mondays to Thursdays, between 10am and 2pm.

Pre-arranged appointments are provided on Fridays while, at peak periods, people can also be directed to the bureau’s telephone Adviceline or other appropriate agencies.

A variety of roles, ranging from reception and administration to advising clients or taking part in research campaigns, are available.

And Mr Claxton-Shirley stressed that they wanted to recruit people of all ages and from all walks of life.

He said: “We’re really aiming at everybody, but retired people in general have more time to give and we find they stay for longer.”

Would-be volunteers are asked to provide at least one day per week for at least a year. Full training is provided.

Anyone interested should contact Emma Manser by emailing e.manser@ncab.org.uk or phoning 01603 679680 for an application form.