Published on 03 June 2021 10:00 PM
Meet Mervyn, one of our team of Information and Advice (I&A) volunteers.
Mervyn joined Age UK South Gloucestershire as a volunteer in 2014. After going through training, Mervyn has taken on the role of helping older people in the local community by giving specialist benefits advice to ensure they receive the correct income as they are entitled.
Mervyn told us, "When my wife was alive, she had cancer, and we received a lot of help from MacMillan about claiming benefits. A year later, I saw an article by Age UK South Gloucestershire looking for volunteers to help people with benefits, so I contacted AUKSG, and the rest is history!"
Mervyn said, "It's all about visiting people at home and helping them claim benefits. Most people I see don't know anything about benefits, the same as I didn't when my wife was ill. We arrange an appointment at their home and help them by providing a benefits check to see what they may be entitled to claim. It's quite a complex process. If someone does qualify once the benefit checks have been completed, there is a specific process to follow to claim. As a volunteer with AUKSG, that's what I can then advise with and help them complete the process".
Mervyn is looking forward to re-starting face-to-face client visits as the government restrictions lift, and it is safe to do so, "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven't been able to make face-to-face appointments. Throughout the last year, we have been completing benefits checks over the phone, it's different, but it works out OK; at least we can still help people. I have missed seeing people and visiting them in the usual way".
"I enjoy Volunteering with AUKSG; it gives me something to do and a new interest. I find it exciting speaking and meeting with people that I wouldn't usually talk to. In some cases, it really is life-changing to them; when a client finds out they can receive benefits they didn't know about, it can make a massive difference to their lives."