Makeover for Wellingborough's Citizens Advice service
A charity which helps thousands of people each year hopes its office makeover will let even more people know about the services they offer.
Staff and volunteers at Wellingborough’s Citizens Advice service had a formal launch for what it describes as a ‘rebrand on a shoostring.’
Martin Lord, chief executive of the charity which provides services accross much of Northamptonshire and regionally, said the premises had been ‘long overdue a freshen-up’ and did not reflect the range of services on offer.
Over the past 12 months, more than 12,000 people have contacted the charity on a range of issues, of which about 25 per cent were from Wellingborough but the charity has ambition to do more.
Mr Lord said: “That’s what this refurbishment was about.
“We know that our brand is extraordinarily well-recognized and valued, and people are increasingly using our online or telephone services, but we wanted our premises to really stand out so that when people in Wellingborough think they need to see someone face to face, they know exactly who to go to see and where we are.”
The formal launch meant the charity was also able to share with guests, including the town’s mayor Cllr Paul Bell, details of a range of new initiatives.
Mr Lord said: ”Local council funding only accounts for a small proportion of our funding although it is especially important in Wellingborough.
“Even though it’s decreased quite significantly over the years, we do understand the pressures local councils face, and that’s why we’ve done so much to attract funding from other sources.”
Current funders include Macmillan Cancer Support, Western Power, Anglian Water and East Midlands Homes.
The charity has also entered into a new partnership through funding from TV finance expert Martin Lewis which will support the development of services in GP surgeries.
Mr Lord said: “It’s important to remember that although we are a volunteer-led organisation, we have bills to pay and costs to cover - for example, one estimate suggests that the cost of training a volunteer to become an adviser is north of £2,000 and even after that we cover all ‘out of pocket’ expenses.”
The charity is also keen to attract new volunteers.
Mr Lord said: “We have had almost 100 volunteers with us in the last year, but it is a continual process ensuring we have enough people to meet demand especially as we have plans to help more people, and expect demand to increase with the effect of welfare reform.
“It’s a fantastic role for someone who is committed to helping people.
“It’s a demanding role and we do expect a lot from our volunteers, but the rewards our enormous.”
For more details about volunteering at Citizens Advice call 01604 235080.