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Becoming one of our volunteers

Eddie and Dinah share their volunteering experiences with Turn2us. Could you join them?

When people ask us for financial help by making an application to our Grants Team, we need to carry out certain checks including a home visit.

Eddie and Dinah are two of the hundreds of volunteers who carry out such visits for us. They are a vital element of our decision making process, providing a face-to-face helpline for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Read their stories and find out why they enjoy being a Turn2us Visitor so much.

If you think you join Dinah and Eddie as one of our volunteers, register your interest in finding out more about becoming a volunteer.

Dinah's Story

Twenty five years ago, Dinah was unexpectedly widowed and left with two children of ten and twelve. She contacted the charitable arm of the professional body attached to her late husband, requesting assistance with funding a car. This organisation was very generous in giving her a loan which she later paid back. The application process was not unlike ours in that - in her words - "a charming woman/visitor made a home visit to assess the situation on their behalf. She returned annually for some time and I always appreciated her care, attention and general friendliness."

Some 10 years later. Dinah had time to spare but did not wish to commit to a regular volunteer slot. Through the charity Reach, she heard about our Visitor role and thought it would suit her because she knew what it felt like to be on the "other side of the sofa".  

Dinah says:

As a sociable person I enjoy the opportunity to talk to people from all walks of life and all ages (current individuals range age from 30-92) and it allows me to use skills from my working life.

I feel it is a privilege to be allowed into someone's home and try to gain their confidence so that an open conversation is possible. I am interested in people's life stories and each and every one is important to me.

I also get personal satisfaction in hearing first hand about how Turn2us funding helps and the enormous difference having a 'lifeline' of funds makes to each person.

Eddie's Story

Four years ago, Eddie was a volunteer in his local Citizens Advice bureau and became aware of our work through a conversation with a colleague. Although Eddie enjoyed his volunteering, the thought of having a more active role and visiting different people in their own homes sounded very appealing. So he successfully applied to become a Visitor in his local community. He is now one of our most active volunteers, currently visiting 23 people.

When asked why people who were thinking about volunteering should consider our Visitor role, Eddie said:

"You need to think about what you want out from life and this role provides not only something for you but also for the individual seeking support. It's a two-way process.

If you are happy to visit people in their own homes, there is a great deal of deep-down satisfaction to be had from getting people the help the need when they need it.  It is really worthwhile because your visit report is part of the grant-making process that can help people's quality of life, particularly when you have helped identify a genuine need that individuals have not mentioned in their application.  People know that you are the person who will help them get through the next financial year.

You need to be able to have empathy for individuals and their situation, listen to why they need our help, ask questions and find out the information the Caseworkers need to make their decision.  

However, it is often what you observe as well that matters - any signs of wear and tear to the property, a broken fence etc because people are often very proud and don't want to indicate that they are having great difficulties. By looking, listening and being friendly but questioning, you can find out their real circumstances if they are prepared to disclose them. There is a real "feel-good" factor about helping people through a tough period in their lives."

Coronavirus Information

My child's school is closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The government has announced that schools will be closing for the majority of students from 20 March 2020.

Children in the following groups will still be able to go to school if their parents choose to send them:

  • The children of key workers
  • Children receiving support from social services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs​)
  • Young carers

If you need to take time off work to care for your children, you should check your employment rights on the ACAS website.

What if I am well but my employer tells me not to work because of the coronavirus outbreak?

This will depend on your contract and is an employment law issue. You may be able to get advice from ACAS on this. You will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

What if I have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and don’t want to go to work and risk infecting my colleagues and customers?

You will only be able to get special help under the coronavirus rules if you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS advice. You can find the current NHS coronavirus advice on the NHS website

What if I am not getting any customers in my self-employed business because of the coronavirus?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, but you will not be entitled to any special support because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have the minimum income floor applied to your claim, or you may be required to look for full time-employment.

I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS guidance and you usually earn at least £120 per week, you should get Statutory Sick Pay even if you are on a zero hours contract.

What if I am homeless with no income so can’t self-isolate and need funds for accommodation?

The government has not published any guidance for what you should do if you are homeless and develop coronavirus symptoms. It would be best to contact your local authority for advice. You should do so by telephone if at all possible.