I first came into contact with Citizen Advice Isle of Wight in 2016, when I needed assistance with an appeal for Personal Independence Payment. I had been quite ill and was struggling to cope. After excellent work by the Welfare Team I was successful in my Appeal and awarded daily living component (standard rate).


In 2017, I was looking to get back to work, and looking for volunteer positions I realised that the support that was given to me in 2016, I could pass on to others, and use the skills I had gained at university to assist individuals the way that Citizens Advice had helped me. I became a volunteer advisor, with a special interest in benefits, bringing my experience of the benefits system (over the previous 10 years I had to go through claiming JSA, ESA, PIP, Income Support and Carer’s Allowance). I found the environment very inviting and everyone was focused on doing the best for the clients.


In March 2019 I applied for a position as a Help to Claim Universal Credit Adviser and was successful. I now work 28 hours a week for Citizens Advice IW, based at a local Jobcentre assisting clients with new claims for Universal Credit and supporting them through to their first payment.


My experience of being a client, volunteer adviser and a member of staff has opened my eyes to a side of me that I never thought about myself, and that in understanding how different people’s experience can be affected by visiting Citizens Advice, being able to leave with a more calm state of mind knowing that they have been helped.