Citizens Advice says farewell to it’s longest serving volunteer

This volunteers’ week Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding will be saying farewell to one of their long-standing volunteers of 33 years, John Jackson. As they wish him a happy retirement they hope his story will encourage others to feel inspired to volunteer for the charity.

John started as a volunteer in 1988. He originally wanted to volunteer for the missing person’s bureau as he “fancied himself as a bit of a detective” but this was not to be, he settled on Citizens Advice and they eagerly made use of his detective skills! When asked why he wanted to volunteer John said he always liked fair play and to help people if they were in a predicament. He is from a farming background where it could be a little quiet, so he had the time to help.

John described how different the training was; he had 8 days training in Leeds. Also how he was able to pop into the DHSS and the local court to see how they worked. Nowadays, training is delivered through a mixture of online learning and observing the sessions in practice. John says one thing is the same though, you learn most when working with clients. He says he became so absorbed in the job and has learnt so much in his 33 years.

Many things have changed during John’s time as a volunteer. The way the pandemic has changed the way we work is only one. The introduction of computers was the first monumental shift in working practice that John has taken in his stride, he has moved from paper file systems to remote working. You can view a history of the service John has been a part of here https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/about-us1/history-of-the-citizens-advice-service/

We asked John what he though was the most important skill for an adviser, he said “you have to be able to put people at ease and have that common touch. The government make the rules, we play to them, interpret them”.

We asked John if he had any memorable moments from his volunteer career. He had two to share. John said “I reached a watershed moment when I had an interview with someone. I realised I had been volunteering at the office longer than they had been born!”

A second memorable moment sums up what a great adviser John has been to the service. “I went to the venue, we shared it with a chiropodist. A gentleman came in for an appointment, and proceeded to take his shoes and socks off. He had mistaken me for the chiropodist! Needless to say we ended up the session talking about his finances and I helped him”

Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding wish John all the best for his retirement and thanks him for his hard work and dedication over the past 33 years.

Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding will be celebrating all of it’s volunteers during  Volunteers Week, 1 – 7 June. Saying thank you to the tireless dedication of its staff and volunteers during a time when the services saw unprecedented demand during the pandemic. They have a week of activities planed on social media to celebrate volunteering and promote volunteering to a wider audience.

120 volunteers at Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding contribute 8 hours each per week, totalling almost 50,000 hours each year.

In the last year, Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding has helped over 23,000 people with over 102,000 problems, such as debt, housing, benefit and employment issues. 

Stacey Provan, Head of General Advice Services at Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding said: “Our wonderful team of volunteers dedicate their time and skills to ensure that people across Hull and East Yorkshire can get support in their time of need. I’m particularly proud of the immense dedication they’ve shown during this pandemic – with many working from living rooms and kitchens to keep the service running. Their dedication and commitment knows no bounds. We simply couldn’t do it without them and we are always looking to recruit more volunteers”

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding call 01482 324655 or email Volunteering@hull-eastridingcab.org.uk.  For more information about the types of roles we offer visit the www.hullandeastridingcab.org.uk/volunteering