Each spring and autumn colleagues from our Redhill and Banstead offices come together for District Training Day. Training is at the very heart of all Citizens Advice activity.
On 1 May, the agenda offered guest and home-team speakers and a lively mix of updates, advice trends and specialist presentations.
From Include who work to raise awareness of hidden communication disabilities, we welcomed founder Alix Lewer. Alix used audience participation to show the relative impact of different ways of communicating. We were impressed and so was she – afterwards on Twitter she said: “This one is especially for VARB and Citizens Advice Reigate & Banstead, top inclusive communicators in Redhill and Reigate this week.” Thanks Alix!
Thanks also for a great discussion to Sue and Stephy from St Peter’s House Project which promotes awareness of HIV. They explained the improved prognosis through medication, but also the stigma associated with HIV that still causes problems, including with mental health. They loved meeting our volunteers; Sue said: “Thanks so much for having us and for your support! You’re a great group of people doing such crucial work.”
Training Manager Helen, who organised the event, was delighted. “The presentations were informative and enjoyable and helped create a great atmosphere. Thanks to everyone for making the day a success.”
Helen and Help to claim adviser Juliet led a valuable discussion on universal credit. From now on, we expect to help an increasing number of UC either claiming for the first time or moving from other benefits as their circumstances change. The CARBS Research and Campaigns team used a Citizens Advice video to underline the vital importance of good data in our policy work.
Our Chief Executive Andrea thanked everyone for their commitment to “an amazing cause”. She paid tribute to Elaine, her predecessor, and spoke about picking up the urgent search for a new Redhill office. Andrea also briefed us on organisation finances and the ongoing need to supplement core funding with charitable donations.
The CARBS Training Commitment: To ensure volunteer advisers enhance their skills and knowledge, know how to give advice effectively, and feel confident to help clients solve problems and lead happier lives.