Kirsty Kelly

Advice Worker based at Citizens Advice Northumberland

What’s your role in a nutshell?

I take the initial client referral from the Bridge Worker and speak to clients by phone and assess what support we can offer them. I complete financial MOTs, initial debt assessments, PIP forms and support the clients with issues that they have with housing, benefits – anything really.  Going forward I’ll hopefully be seeing more clients face to face either in our offices or online (currently brushing up on my IT skills!)   No day and no client is the same which keeps the job interesting.

Do you have a secret talent for anything?

I like to make stained glass suncatchers.

What’s the best part of your job?

Being able to help clients apply for benefits that they are eligible for but do not feel able to do so on their own, and then seeing them get successful outcomes such as being awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which will make their lives better.

What do your colleagues say is your best quality? 

My colleagues tell me that they like listening to me on the telephone as I have a lovely, soothing telephone voice and could listen to me all day – which is good because I could talk all day!

What’s your favourite food?

I just love food in general. Love to try new things.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I like to go out walking and go to the beach. We have so many beautiful walks on our doorstep so I try to make the most of them and they’re free!

What advice do you have for people considering joining the programme?

I was made redundant 8 years ago and stayed home with my kids and volunteered with Citizens Advice. 3 years ago I went back to college and got my NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care.  I was fortunate enough to do my placement on the Bridge Project and got to know the Bridge Workers really well. I saw first-hand the work they do and went to some of the events that were organised for their clients such as the trip to Metro Radio. The Bridge Workers have a wealth of knowledge and experience and are committed to supporting clients move forward and overcome some of the barriers clients may be facing. They supported me through my training which helped me get this role for which I am really grateful. I saw the really positive impact that they had on the lives of other people who needed a helping hand to get on the path of where they wanted to go. My advice would be go for it, Join the programme. Shy bairns get nowt!