Harlow Citizen’s Advice Bureau helps thousands

HARLOW Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) helps thousands of clients each year with all kinds of emotional and financial support for free as part of the charity’s work.

The bureau is funded by the council and there are currently 316 in the country providing free advice in order to make people feel more at ease about their current situation, whatever that may be.

The charity is in Harlow town centre and is run almost mostly by volunteers of all ages wishing to gain experience and help others.

All staff complete a course prior to becoming a volunteer which educates them on how to give advice.

In 2019 alone Harlow CAB dealt with 9,087 issues on subjects including debt, benefits, legal, employment, immigration and discrimination.

Ayub Khan, who is CEO of Harlow CAB, said: “We’re a strategic partner of the local authority, Harlow council, we are funded by them and we are here to serve the duty to the residents and that’s what we are about.”

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The CAB also offers apprenticeships and there are certain paid roles volunteers can apply for that would consist of the individual fulfilling duties to ensure the smooth running of the bureau.

Kathryn Claydon, who joined the CAB two years ago, is an example of a paid role at the charity and is now the head of recruitment and training and is also a session supervisor. She expressed how much of an eye opener working there has been.

She said “I started off doing half a day’s volunteering here and going through the fantastic training, then I worked my way up to supervisor and you have to have a session supervisor on duty every time we open branch, our role is to check on all the advice which goes out the centre.”

The CAB’s 2019 statistics state they have 40 volunteers offering useful, life changing advice to just over 2,000 clients. Solicitors even volunteer their free time in order to share their professional knowledge as part of trying to make the Harlow community a better place.

Barbara Clark, who has been a volunteer for 15 months said: “We don’t turn anyone away, we’re a very caring place. If we can help them, we will and that’s what I love about this job, it’s incredibly rewarding.”

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Chloe Walpole

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