Welcome to the latest instalment of our ‘Meet The Team’ series, where we introduce you to the people behind the scenes helping our clients at Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton. In our last instalment we met Ian Boote, our Welfare Benefits team supervisor – in case you missed it, you can read it here.
This month, we talked to Carol from our Community Care team, to find out more about how they help the residents of Bury & Bolton.
Who are you and what’s your role?
My name is Carol. I’ve worked at Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton for 15 years. My role revolves around two different advice areas: welfare benefits and community care. I’ve been advising on welfare benefit law for the last 15 years and in community care for over 8 years, and I’m supervisor of the community care team.
What does the community care team do at CABB?
The community care team links together with the welfare benefits team, and other areas of law such as immigration and housing. Essentially, we look holistically at a client’s needs, and what problems the client is presenting with. These can include helping people with disability-related health issues, obtaining aids and adaptations to their home, challenging care related costs, asking for help from social services to support their care needs or care needs of someone they are looking after; we find that this often lifts stress and improves wellbeing. We really just listen to a client’s problems and tailor the advice to their needs.
What does your role typically involve on a day-to-day basis?
Each day varies hugely – it depends what clients’ need help with that day. A typical day can be anything from helping a client with their welfare benefits application to assisting someone fleeing domestic violence. I’m on call to support our other social welfare areas of law too – anything and everything really! It’s what makes the job so exciting because you don’t know what will happen next.
What are some of the most common queries/questions you get/issues you deal with?
About 70% of the work in community care relates to when the client is struggling in their home and they don’t know what help is available to them. We can be there to tell them about what they can access to improve their situation. Typical issues I deal with as a community care case worker include; challenging assessments if they have been reduced by Social Services or an identified care need as not been addressed, assessing if the financial charge requested by the Local Authority is correct, and helping families with disabilities and addressing if their housing needs have been overlooked by other local government departments.
Within community care, we address any issue relating to a safe discharge from the hospital and address any issues that may have been overlooked whilst the person was a patient. I also look at the care needs of carers and advice on their own right to an assessment to get help to ease their stresses.
What do you enjoy the most about your role and working at CABB?
Getting a result that suits the needs of the client is what I enjoy the most. Also, not knowing what I’m going to be dealing with day to day is really enjoyable and exciting. I love gaining knowledge and learning new things, so always being faced with something new is satisfying to me. The job never gets boring and I’m always excited to come into work.
The team here at CABB are great to work with too. Different teams like to support each other and I get to know more about other presenting issues such as immigration and housing which really benefits men and my clients. It’s the beauty of the job and I always feel supported and confident in the fact everyone else is working hard. Even though the Community Care team is small, I always feel like the other staff are there for me, we are there for each other to advise our clients.