[access-uk] Re: Off topic: Access and training with Citizens Advice Buerau

Jackie, not much to say just now, but I'm sure I've heard of blind
people doing CAB and welfare rights work, but cannot for the life of
me recall who or where.  If it comes back to me I'll let you know.
Mind you, after your experience I'm not sure how much I'd want to go
back myself and face the negative and hostile welcome you got.

Cheers,

From Ray
I can be contacted off-list at:
mailto:ray-48@xxxxxxxx
-----Ori
ginal Message-----
Jackie Cairns
Subject: [access-uk] Off topic: Access and training with Citizens
Advice Buerau


Hi All

Apologies for the cross-posting of this topic, but I would appreciate
any views as it is an access issue that does involve the Internet to a
certain degree.

Exactly a year ago, I decided to contact Citizens Advice Bureau with a
view to becoming a volunteer Adviser.  Unfortunately, when I went to
my local office and tried to queue up to see someone about it, the
person on duty literally slammed the door in my face when I tried to
make a polite enquiry.  Hurt, but not daunted, I contacted their Head
Office in Edinburgh, and was told that they were unsure if blind
people ever did advisory work, but would find out and get the relevant
people in my locality to contact me.  I'm still waiting ...

My son, Ian, is currently looking for another job as rumour has it
that Comet may be making him redundant in their usual cost-cutting
drive.  While he was scanning the local paper today, he came across
the Citizens Advice Bureau advertisement for volunteers in our area
again, which stated that they are commencing training in late
February.

I am really keen to get involved in this for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it is community-based and something I could lend my skills
to.  Secondly, there would be a wide variety of topics to deal with,
and I would find it extremely challenging and worthwhile.

But what can I do if they become defensive about my blindness, or
negative towards having a blind volunteer?  Could I shove the DDA up
their noses because it is only volunteering, or complain to anyone if
they don't accept me onto their training programme?  One of the
reasons they cited for my unsuitability last year - bearing in mind I
never even got an interview - was that I couldn't access the paperwork
required to complete my training, or help clients complete benefit
claims and other forms.  But my understanding is that most, if not
all, of this is online now.

Does anyone have a view about this?  Has anyone done any CAB work or
welfare rights who could speak firsthand of their difficulties with
materials or even clients in a general sense?

I would very much welcome your views as I want to proceed, but need to
be prepared for another door slam.

Jackie

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