Volunteers across Scotland’s Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) have been worth more than £17 million since the pandemic, the service has calculated.

More than 1,500 volunteers have contributed the equivalent of £17,164,222 in hours since April 2020, Citizens Advice Scotland said on Sunday.

Chairman Rory Mair said the network is a “people-powered service with volunteers at the heart of it”.

He said: “This is local people giving something back to their communities and it is worth millions of pounds to the CAB network, but for the people those volunteers help, their contributions are simply priceless.

“Last year the CAB network helped over 174,500 people, unlocking over £132 million in the process.

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“One in six people saw a financial gain after seeking advice, the average value of which was over £4,200.

“That is absolutely life-changing money and in many instances the advice will have been delivered by someone volunteering in the CAB, having gone through training to become and adviser.”

Volunteer advisers go through around six months of training. Other voluntary roles include administration and social policy workers.

Sofia Mechtidou, a law student who is a volunteer adviser at Dundee CAB, said the work “can definitely be stressful at times” but is “extremely rewarding”.

While many volunteers are retired, many are students, including Yamuna Kunwar, a volunteer administrator at Musselburgh CAB.

The Herald: law student Sofia Mechtidou, a volunteer adviser at Dundee CABlaw student Sofia Mechtidou, a volunteer adviser at Dundee CAB (Image: PA)

When she was younger, her parents asked her to contact the service.

“We had emigrated from Nepal and English wasn’t their first language, so if they had a question or needed help filling in a form, I would go to the bureau or call them up,” she said.

“A friend had volunteered at the Musselburgh Bureau and said she really enjoyed it, and because CAB meant a lot to me personally, I wanted to join.

“It can get busy but I’ve found ways to keep on top of everything. I feel I’m definitely more confident now and can work better under pressure. You go home feeling you’ve actually been able to help someone.”

The service revealed the data before volunteer’s week, which begins on Thursday June 1.