Client Story

Expert advice for volunteers

1st March 2024

Lady with a volunteer tshirt on

Like every other worker in 2020, the volunteer advisers of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) have been through the wringer with the trials of isolation and remote working. But as a 20,000 strong network of unpaid workers who give their spare time willingly, often around other jobs, the effects often feel more severe.

Earlier this year the CAB, via a volunteer, approached Harrison Clark Rickerbys for assistance in supporting staff.

Advisers and staff overwhelmingly wanted a webinar in employment law and Heidi Cooper, an employment and immigration solicitor, stepped up to the plate to deliver online training for all CAB staff in Hereford and Worcester.

She said: “The Citizens Advice Bureau provide an extremely valuable service, supporting those who often don’t know where to turn for advice. With the strain of Covid-19 on many people’s jobs, the volunteers were receiving more employment questions than ever before, and in a complex and evolving area of law, it is important to stay up to date.

“I was more than happy to give a little time to those who give a lot and I am looking forward to running another session for them (specifically on redundancy) in September/October time, towards the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, when redundancies will, sadly, be very relevant.”

And according to Gwen Fraser, Volunteer Operations and Training Manager for CAB, who acknowledged that “at this time, it is more important than ever for us to be able to respond to our volunteers’ wants and needs”, Heidi’s input was exactly the tonic required:

“Heidi delivered that webinar in spades yesterday. She is so incredibly enthusiastic about her role and her sheer delight in her chosen area of law was like a breath of fresh air to all of us struggling with trying to fathom out how to advise our clients facing redundancies, discrimination, apparently unfair practices and the fallout from the pandemic. An extremely complex area of law!

Her presentation slides were excellent, to the point and pitched at just the right level for advisers with no legal background. She spoke fluently and knowledgeably and gave thorough and detailed answers to questions from the group at exactly the right level for the educated layman.

I have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from the attendees, including one from a professional online trainer saying it was one of the best online sessions they had ever been on, alongside other comments about the training being ‘useful’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘extremely helpful’. It was a thoroughly professional and useful session delivered in such a friendly and engaging manner that I hope you will allow Heidi to do another session for us soon.”

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