Volunteers across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland are worth millions of pounds, analysis from CAS has found.
Research from the charity found that over 1,900 volunteers contributed more than 622,000 hours of their time in 2020-21. The monetary value of this contribution amounts to over £9.4million.
The research has been released ahead of Volunteers Week (1-7 June), which celebrates the contribution of volunteers across the UK.
Each Citizens Advice Bureau is an independent local charity, organised to best suit local needs. There are 59 CABs across Scotland and last year the network helped over 171,000 people, unlocking around £147 million for clients through things like social security payments and employment entitlements. The average gain was over £4,400 for those who saw a financial benefit.
Just one of the CAB network volunteers is Nan Fortheringham, 81. Nan is a volunteer adviser at Coatbridge Citizens Advice Bureau. She has volunteered her time for two days a week for twenty years.
“I can’t believe I’ve been volunteering at the CAB for twenty years – time flies! The local Citizens Advice Bureau is always there for people when they need it and it really shows the best of our communities – local people helping each other.
“Times are really tough for people just now and I love having the opportunity to give something back to the community.
“I’d encourage anyone who is thinking about volunteering with their local CAB to look into it – you learn skills, meet great people and there’s no better feeling than helping someone resolve a problem.”
Chair of Citizens Advice Scotland, Rory Mair CBE, said:
“Volunteers across the Citizens Advice network are worth millions of pounds in terms of the time they give, but to us they are simply priceless. Our network simply would not exist without the time, dedication and empathy of our volunteers.
“There’s something extraordinary about how the network operates – advice for local people by local people. Neighbours effectively helping each other.
“Volunteering for a CAB also opens up opportunities for people. Around a third of our volunteers go on to further education or employment, and this number will be artificially low given a number of our volunteers are past retirement age and just looking to give something back to their community.
“We’d always encourage people to consider volunteering with their local CAB. They are the heart and the heartbeat of our network.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Of the volunteers whose journey is known, 33% of those leaving the service go on to paid employment or further education.
Over 1,900 volunteers contributed more than 622,000 hours of their time in 2020-21, the monetary value of this contribution amounts to over £9.4M.*
Volunteer hours (approx. 7 per week, over 46 weeks) calculated using ONS 2020 hourly rate of £15.14 (to reflect volunteer skills and knowledge); multiplied by CAB volunteer hours.