With the outbreak of Covid-19 Citizens Advice Worcester had to close our doors to clients but very quickly mobilised many of our wonderful volunteers to support our national telephone helpline, answering calls from clients desperate for help, but from home. 27 people have not only given us their valuable time since March but have also been using both their own laptops and telephony to help us deliver this service. We now need to purchase additional hardware and software technology for both existing and future volunteers, therefore building local office capacity to help more clients and continuing to adapt the way we work. This will enable us to deal with more clients more efficiently, rely less on the tremendous goodwill shown by our volunteers in using their own equipment to support our service, recruit and train more volunteers over the coming months, increase productivity and reduce the costs of delivering the services we provide to many of the most vulnerable clients in the city.
What we'll deliver:
- Telephony equipment for 20 new volunteers
Why it's a great idea:
The ability to offer face to face appointments for our clients will remain a challenge for the foreseeable future. However we anticipate an increase in demand for our service as schemes such as furloughing come to an end and more clients will be facing issues around employment, housing and debt. We will only be able to meet this anticipated huge demand in our services by recruiting and training more volunteers and giving them the right equipment to deliver this service. The funding amount we are looking to achieve will support 18-20 new volunteers being trained to deliver a telephone advice service through the purchase of VOIP ‘phones, headsets and internet software for them all. This hardware and software will allow them to have “real time” training and the confidence that they will have the right equipment to deliver our service. We already have six new volunteers in training, with another six starting in October and we hope to recruit a third cohort in the New Year.
Steps to get it done:
- Recruit new volunteers to Citizens Advice Worcester in three groups of 6-7
- Train each group of new volunteers
- Once trained, new volunteers will support our AdviceLine service