The Citizens Advice service in Oswestry is appealing for new volunteers to help broaden its team and meet client demand.

Last year the Oswestry team met with 1,900 clients helping them find a way forward as well as influencing policy to help the most vulnerable in society.

One of these was ‘Anne’ who came to Citizens Advice for help when she discovered her application for disability benefit, Personal Independence Payment, had been turned down despite her managing a number of serious health conditions.

A volunteer adviser helped her fill out the form and appeal the decision. ‘Anne’s’ appeal was successful and she was awarded over £7,500 worth of PIP for the year.

During the appointment at Citizens Advice ‘Anne’ had told the adviser that she felt stressed and anxious about the initial refusal of PIP and did not know how to go about filling in the forms and answering the questions.

“I am very grateful for the help from Citizens Advice and can go home feeling better in myself,” she said.

‘Anne’s’ story is just one example of how volunteers are at the heart of the work of Citizens Advice. Amy Jones, who started as a volunteer adviser at Oswestry and now works as a paid Welfare Benefits Adviser in Shrewsbury, said that just listening to a client’s story often helped to ease their stress. She outlined one case where a distressed client had arrived with her daughter and baby son.

“I had to try and calm her down and ascertain what her problems were – there was added pressure as her daughter was with her and I didn’t want to upset her. I was able to help the client and made her two appointments with us – one for benefits and one for debt. When the debt caseworker spoke to her later that day he told me she was feeling much better.

“It’s very rewarding as a volunteer to know that you are actively helping to alleviate a client’s distress by just being there and listening and helping them with their problems in a practical way,” she said.

The Oswestry team is looking for new recruits of all ages, background and experience. New volunteers can start as assessors or disability form-fillers after an initial training programme and then continue training within the role for one day a week.

Citizen Advice has organised an open day on September 12 at the Oswestry office for anyone who can spare one day a week as a volunteer.

Contact Cris(CRCT) Willis at, or call in at the Oswestry office in Arthur Street.