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Ever wondered who our volunteers are, or why they get involved? Want to know more about our team, including what makes them tick? Then ‘Behind The Scenes’ is the place to be! This time we talk to Peter.
Meet Peter Firth, one of our Employment Advisors. Peter joined the Service in 2017 after a career in HR spanning over 40 years, which led him to specialise in Employee Relations. Now retired, Peter wanted to give something back to society and the obvious answer was to help people who had problems at work. Citizens Advice provides the perfect platform to do that.
The World of Work
“When I started my career”, says Peter, “the world of work was much more unionised and employees frequently had the opportunity to get support with workplace disputes via their Trade Union. This is rarely the case today and often the only affordable option for advice on employment issues is via Citizens Advice”.
Peter volunteers every Monday and alternate Fridays, and describes seeing 2-3 clients a week. During lockdown Peter has been working from home, and envisages the demand for his skills increasing as reports of unfairly treated furloughed workers start to reach his desk.
“The main issues”, explains Peter, “involve employers not following the correct redundancy procedures, not adhering to the Furlough Scheme properly, and discriminating against employees when it comes to arrangements for working from home. Sadly this is likely to be a huge phenomenon but we are here to help anyone who finds themselves in this situation.”
Westminster & Waders
Peter may be retired but in fact he is busier than ever, and for the last 27 years has worked as a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster teaching on the Masters’ programme. And that’s not the whole story. When we spoke, Peter was about to don his waders for a river clean up at the river Colne, as he also volunteers as a river ranger at Groundwork South. Peter is passionate about improving bio-diversity and is a founder member of ‘Wild About Datchet’, an organisation which aims to improve bio-diversity in the village and also put pressure on the local Council to ensure it fulfils environmental commitments. Prior to lockdown Peter also found the time to volunteer at his local homeless centre.
Let’s get personal
Q: What has been your highlight about your time so far at Citizens Advice?
A: Obtaining a £10,000 settlement for a client who was discriminated against due to pregnancy
Q: Citizens Advice is a charity. What would you say to a potential funder?
A: Clients come to see us when they have nowhere else to go. They receive free and impartial advice from volunteers whose only motivation is to help them.
Q: How would your colleagues describe you in 3 words?
A: Knowledgeable, helpful, verbose.
Q: One word to describe Citizens Advice?
Citizens Advice Bracknell & District is a charity. We rely on people like Peter to help us provide a comprehensive service. If you would like more information about how to volunteer please email email@example.com.
Every pound donated will help keep our essential services running. Your help is absolutely vital so we can continue to support local people in need at this critical time. You can do this here www.justgiving.com/citizensadvicebracknell