Portsmouth's Citizens Advice volunteers come from all walks of life

Citizens Advice Portsmouth staff celebrate 50 yearsCitizens Advice Portsmouth staff celebrate 50 years
Citizens Advice Portsmouth staff celebrate 50 years
Life is complicated – we can help. We’re part of a network of charities, a community – we provide free and confidential advice.

People rely on us because we’re independent and totally impartial.

Citizens Advice nationally has over 20,000 trained volunteers and we in Portsmouth have over 30 working with us.

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Citizen Advice volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and volunteer with us for different reasons.

Our roles are varied, challenging, and rewarding and our volunteers really enjoy being able to make a valuable contribution and a positive impact on people’s lives. We thought it would be interesting to share the stories of three of our team with quite different responsibilities.


My name is Sana Aamir. After completing my master’s degree in business administration and human resource management, I looked for a volunteer opportunity to gain some work experience.

I have been working as an HR volunteer with Citizens Advice Portsmouth since March 2019.

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This role has given me the opportunity to use my base skills set and to further develop additional skills of my own. I have realised that volunteering is a great opportunity for those who enjoy helping and meeting new people.


I’m Sandy O’Neill and I started as a volunteer adviser at Citizens Advice in 2006. At that point I had found myself with four children, a broken marriage, no confidence and in significant debt.

I approached Citizens Advice for help. While I was there, I noticed that they were looking for volunteers. I applied and almost immediately found myself receiving expert training and support to be an adviser.

Later I specialised and that gave me the confidence to study to be a legal executive. I qualified and continued to work my way through several different roles and qualifications.

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Today I am the chief officer of Citizens Advice Portsmouth. I think I must be in one of the most fulfilling jobs ever. I love my work.


I originally worked for Pall Corporation (in Portsmouth) for more than 30 years. I now use the skills I learnt there working to get funding for, and greater awareness of, Citizens Advice Portsmouth. This is important as we receive no funding from our local council.

I find my role interesting and rewarding but also importantly, for me at least, is the amount I have learnt – this really is a new challenge in a later life chapter.

If you would like to volunteer with us, email [email protected].

Claim the Council Tax Support you are entitled to

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If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to some help towards paying your council tax, known as Council Tax Support (CTS).

Working age people can get up to 80 per cent off their Council Tax bill and it is entirely separate to the 25 per cent discount that you can get for living alone.

It is based on your household income and personal circumstances and is claimed separately to other benefits, so you must make a separate claim, even if you get other benefits, such as Universal Credit. There are some general rules about who can apply for CTS and these rules apply both to pensioners and to people of working age.

Before you apply for CTS, you should make sure you're the person responsible for paying Council Tax on the property. You can use an online benefit calculator to help work out if you may be entitled, such as those at turn2us.org.uk or entitledto.co.uk. If you’re not sure if you are eligible and you’re on a low income, you can apply anyway and they will inform you if you are entitled.

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You can apply online on Portsmouth City Council’s website – go to portsmouth.gov.uk and search for 'council tax support'.

If you can't claim online, ring the council on (023) 9283 4556.

If you need help, you can speak to us at Citizens Advice Portsmouth on the phone number on this page.

If you have previously made a claim that wasn’t successful and your income has now dropped, or you have had another change of circumstances, you might be eligible and so it might be worth making another claim.

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