Volunteer Stories: Citizens Advice Winchester District

2 June 2021

Citizens Advice Winchester District aim to provide free, impartial advice to local people who are going through challenging times. They deliver advice with compassion and without judgment, supporting people whoever they are, whatever the problem.

Brighid Pettapiece has been volunteering with Citizens Advice Winchester District for over fifteen years. Read on below to hear from Citizens Advice about how Brighid helps support local residents and to find out what is like being a Volunteer Adviser.

Volunteering with Citizens Advice: The power of helping people overcome problems

Brighid has been a volunteer adviser for Citizens Advice Winchester District for over fifteen years and has a wealth of experience in supporting people with all manner of advice issues including debt, employment, benefits, relationship and consumer issues.

Brighid decided to become a volunteer when she took early retirement from her career in Human Resources. “I started volunteering when I realised how comfortable and protected I was from a life I knew little about. I recognised that there were many people who were vulnerable and struggling with a variety of issues and wanted to help.”

Volunteering provides a great opportunity to develop new skills and make new friends, but ultimately, it’s the satisfaction of being able to help someone overcome their problems which Brighid finds the most rewarding.

“Seeing a client endure so much stress and heart-ache can be really upsetting but being able to give practical steps to help someone move forward is extremely powerful. There are many people I’ve helped who I will never forget, especially those dealing with the loss of a loved one”

Brighid has seen many changes and developments over the years in her role as an adviser, particularly in technology but also in the ever-evolving benefits system which challenges so many of the people that we help.

During the pandemic our advice teams have had to keep up to date with constantly changing rules and regulations in order to deliver the highest standards of advice to our clients.

At the same, our volunteers have had to adapt to delivering this advice from their homes, which has meant learning new IT skills and different ways of working. This hasn’t been easy, but Brighid has risen to the challenge with positivity and determination.

“By embracing new technology (albeit reluctantly sometimes!) and with the support of all the staff at Citizens Advice Winchester District, we have been able to maintain a service to all those who have needed us at a totally unprecedented time.”

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