What our volunteers say Fatima - Administration Volunteer “I first came to Z2K because I had a problem with my benefits. I have a very complex vascular problem and while I was getting treatment I couldn’t work, but at the medical assessment the DWP said I couldn’t get Personal Independence Payment. I need it to live on, so I contacted Z2K. They took my case to tribunal and won. So after that I wanted to do something to say thank you. First I wrote a card, but I still felt I wanted to do more so I contacted them again to ask about volunteering. I gave them references from my tutors and we had an interview and it was all fine. It’s good because they don’t demand high qualifications to volunteer here. Because of all my treatment I’ve not had any experience of working in a job at all, only studying, but they said that was ok. I learn a lot volunteering. It’s given me self-esteem, self-confidence and now I feel I’ll be able to find a job when I’ve finished my treatment, because it’s taught me how to deal with problems and how to do what I want to do. If someone is thinking of volunteering, I would say ‘start. Just start. It will build up your confidence.’” Lucy - Casework Volunteer “I started volunteering at Z2K to gain work experience alongside my degree. I have always been interested in the idea of casework and working directly with clients so this position was perfect. I began as a volunteer filling out ESA and PIP forms with clients, and then applied for a casework assistant position. It has been so interesting to see all sides of a client’s journey in order to secure their benefits, from the initial application through to the appeal. In a relatively short time I have learnt so much. It has been eye-opening not only with regards to the law surrounding benefits but also the amount of people who are going through so many personal issues and what they have to go through in order to get the help they deserve. To someone considering volunteering with Z2K, I would encourage it greatly. The team and general atmosphere is wonderful- it is truly a pleasure to work alongside such passionate, experienced and dedicated staff and volunteers.” Fouzia - Client Interpretation Volunteer “I’ve been volunteering with Z2K for about a year now. I like it because I’m helping people, it’s a very kind charity and friendly atmosphere. I came here because I was training as an interpreter and I wanted to help people. I’ve learned a lot from volunteering - how to use salesforce, IT skills and all about the benefits system. It’s all new to me, I didn’t know anything about benefits before I started working here, but I’ve learned a lot. I would really encourage anyone to volunteer with Z2K. You learn a lot, and the team are really helpful. I love the atmosphere, everyone’s friendly and you can ask questions at any time.” Johanna - Form-filling Volunteer “I started volunteering with Z2K through the University of Westminster Student Law Clinic when I was looking for different legal volunteering opportunities. After reading up about the help Z2K provides to vulnerable people, I became interested and wanted to get involved. I am a form-filling volunteer, and I help clients fill out Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance applications. Although I have previous customer service experience, I didn’t have any prior experience about private client meetings. I’ve learned a lot about being tactful and sensitive, and with every meeting I’ve gotten more confident and efficient in my work. Alongside the fantastic real-life legal work experience gained from my volunteering, it is extremely rewarding to know you have truly helped someone in need by giving a few hours of your time. To someone who is considering volunteering, I’d say ‘do it!’ I recommend volunteering with Z2K to anyone who is looking for ways to give back and wanting to help people. Everyone that I’ve met at Z2K has been super friendly, helpful and lovely - definitely a great group of people to work with.” Valerie - Casework Volunteer “I started volunteering with Z2K about seven years ago, after I retired. I advise people with different issues to do with benefits. Because of my experience, here and at CAB, I tend to get the more involved cases, like tax credits. What I like about volunteering with Z2K is being able to follow a case right through from the initial issue to tribunal. I like that there’s less bureaucracy here than at some places. And I like being with the people here - there’s quite a range of people working here, a range of ages, so it’s interesting. It’s definitely a good place to volunteer if you want to use your mind. You don’t have to have a benefits background - it’s more about a capacity for making arguments and absorbing information. You need to establish a rapport with clients, so when you actually succeed it’s quite exciting and rewarding. I’ve seen a mix of people over the years, it has been interesting. It’s encouraged me to keep coming - there’s been a whole succession of challenges, so you’re not doing the same thing day after day.” Lindsey - Tribunals Volunteer “I am one of Z2K’s newest volunteers having been here for just a couple of months, but it’s such a friendly team I already feel like part of the furniture. I am a law student who was looking to gain some practical experience but wanted to do something that would make a real difference to peoples’ lives and not just tick a box for my CV. I largely assist clients with social security appeals; providing support, completing paperwork and tribunal representation. I really enjoy being able to improve somebody’s life and no two cases are ever the same, so I am always learning and developing my own skills. There is lots of training and support so I never feel overwhelmed or on my own. I have learnt so much in a short space of time, from carrying out small pieces of legal research to drafting submissions and preparing for a tribunal. I would highly recommend volunteering to anyone who wants the opportunity to work in a great environment and develop themselves, whilst making a great contribution to others.” See our current opportunities for volunteering.