About the project
Stevenage Welfare Benefits Appeals Project, a collaboration between Citizens Advice Stevenage and Hertfordshire Law School, is launching in September 2020 for an initial 6 month pilot.
This new service, funded by the Community Justice Fund and the National Lottery, will provide advice, casework and advocacy support to people wishing to appeal the refusal of welfare benefits to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support). There is huge demand for welfare benefits advice in Stevenage and this project will enable Citizens Advice Stevenage to expand their existing service and help many more people who would otherwise struggle to have access to justice.
Role of Student Volunteers
Students will receive comprehensive training from Citizens Advice Stevenage and work, on a rota basis, under the supervision of an experienced welfare benefits specialist. Students will interview clients (by phone or video conferencing), complete appeal forms, prepare cases for appeal and, where appropriate, undertake advocacy at the First-tier Tribunal. All training will be provided online and students will be able to work on cases remotely.
Benefits of volunteering
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to build on the theories you have learnt in the classroom, developing practical skills and a growing awareness of social justice issues.
By working on real cases under close supervision from an experienced caseworker, you will have the opportunity to develop the kinds of skills valued by employers. You will strengthen your ability to listen, assess situations and offer valuable, objective advice. You will become a stronger communicator, able to work empathetically and explain complex situations clearly. You will also learn to be proactive and manage your time to work to strict deadlines, which are all key employability skills.
This project also provides students with an unrivalled opportunity to develop advocacy skills by representing clients at the First-tier Tribunal where appropriate.