I became involved with Shelter Scotland in early 2014. I wanted to help people who are less fortunate than me and to give time to volunteering as I stepped back from a long business career. I knew little about what Shelter really did and like most people thought they just dealt with Homeless people. How wrong I was!

I wasn’t sure how I could help. Shelter Scotland’s volunteer co-ordinator, Donna, chatted with me and identified that I could help by using my experience in business to offer advice to people who had tenancy issues. She suggested I consider volunteering for the Online Digital Advice project which was about to be piloted in Scotland.

I completed the online Housing Law Information and Advice training and course type 1. I went through this training in the Spring and Summer of 2014 and started as an online chat adviser in September 2014. I work four hours a week at the Shelter Scotland offices in Glasgow. I like the interaction with the staff. I have found the energy and enthusiasm of everyone, all focused on helping people very infectious and encouraging.

My work involves answering clients who ask for information through the web site live chat facility. The type of questions vary enormously, from people who want to know about rent deposit schemes, who have difficulties with landlords and people who face financial issues which threaten their independence and ability to pay their rent. The Advice section of the Shelter Scotland website contains a wealth of information and my job is mainly to signpost people to the relevant part of the site and provide them with general information to deal with their problem. We are able to help lots of people but sometimes their needs are so urgent or specific that I will refer them to our telephone Helpline where they can speak to an adviser. Yvonne, our full time digital advice co-ordinator, is on hand to help and encourage us. Under her direction the team is growing in confidence and offer greater and relevant help to those clients who use the service.

I get great satisfaction from being able to resolve people’s problems and helping Shelter Scotland deal with more enquiries than their Helpline advisers would be able to respond to. More than anything I feel that I am helping by reaching out to people, albeit remotely and I look forward to my time with Shelter Scotland.

If you are interested in volunteering with Shetler Scotland, visit our website at shelterscotland.org/volunteer or contact the team at:  volunteerscotland@shelter.org.uk.

Leave a Comment