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25 Faces of Volunteering - Robert Pearson

Robert Pearson

Robert shares with us how his volunteering role has changed during the pandemic, but the support and guidance from Inverclyde Carers Centre has helped him to continue volunteering through this difficult time.

Tell us about your volunteering

I volunteer at the Inverclyde Carers Centre. Before the pandemic I met with a carer face to face but that changed to befriending carers over the telephone.

Over the years I met lots of other carers in face to face conversations and enjoyed my time with them; some great people in difficult situations, we could talk for any time up to 1 hour no problem.

Then the pandemic came along and the carers centre asked me if I would volunteer to make phone calls to other carers to check how they were getting on in these trying times. I must admit to feeling a bit apprehensive as my idea of a phone conversation was about 3 to 5 minutes to get the information I wanted, but I must thank the carers I spoke to as we could be talking anywhere from 15 mins up to 1 hour 

Why do you volunteer?

I received some support and wanted to help support others.

What do you gain from volunteering?

During these calls I learned how hard it was for some families and how they coped with the isolation forced on them by the various lockdowns; people with parents and grandparents in care homes when you couldn't visit them, then those with kids coping with home schooling but in most cases we could have a bit of a laugh by the end of the call.

Now speaking to those who want a call back now things have eased, you can tell the relief when they speak about being able to actually see and speak to elderly relatives and those with kids trying to get back into a school routine.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

Give it a go and support others in your community.

 

Find out more about Inverclyde Carers Centre - visit their website.

25 Faces of Volunteering - Tracy Franek

Tracy7

Tracy shares with us her volunteering role and how she enjoys being a befriender with Inverclyde Carers Centre. Volunteering for Tracy has helped her during lockdown and she enjoys chatting to the carers as much as they do to her.

Tell us about your volunteering

I am a telephone befriender for the Inverclyde Carers Centre. I call two ladies every week on the same day at the same time as arranged with them. We talk about loneliness, the pandemic, family, religion, politics; in fact anything that they want to discuss and don’t feel they want to burden any family member with. We laugh a lot together and from the feedback received by the carers centre, they find my calls very uplifting and beneficial, as do I.

Why do you volunteer?

Having just moved to Scotland from England in January 2020, and my chosen profession was not open for new recruits, I was wanting to work, and so volunteering in the community was the obvious choice to me. I went into the carer centre in Cathcart Street, and was welcomed by Donna, and after an informal chat, an interview followed. Having been accepted as a volunteer, a course that covered all aspects of befriending was undertaken online, as the pandemic had stopped all face-to-face meetings. After that, I was given two ladies to call, and I haven’t looked back.

What do you gain from volunteering?

Being locked away like everyone over the past year, my weekly chats with my ladies I really looked forward to, just as much as they did. It is just a couple of hours a week, nothing in the great scheme of things, and gives me so much pleasure knowing that I am helping people through tough times. If during our talks it becomes apparent that they require more than just telephone assistance, I can quickly pass this information back to the carer centre and my manager, who can then get other agencies involved to assist my ladies further

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

I would say give it a TRY, as it is so rewarding and you get great satisfaction, knowing that you are helping and making a difference to someone’s life.

 

Find out more about Inverclyde Carers Centre - visit their website.

25 Faces of Volunteering - Martin Jones

Martin Jones

Martin is a new a volunteer who has embraced his volunteering role with inverclyde Carers Centre . He finds volunteering an enjoyable experience and is also gaining skills and knowledge that he can add to his CV.

Tell us about your volunteering

I am a telephone befriender for the Inverclyde Carers Centre. My volunteering role is to make weekly calls to a carer. I have a general chat to allow them to have some time to themselves and speak about whatever is important to them at that time.

Why do you volunteer?

I was made redundant at the end of last year and wanted to give something back to the community and do something nice for someone through something as simple as chatting on the phone for an hour or so.

What do you gain from volunteering?

I get to have a lovely chat with a carer every week where we can have a nice blether about whatever is on our minds and our similar interests. It gives me an opportunity to do something of value and productive in the free time I have at the moment. It is something I can put on my CV too.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

Go for it! I have only just started volunteering and I am really enjoying it! It was daunting to begin with but it has now become something that I look forward to doing every week when the time comes. Donna from Inverclyde Carers Centre has been excellent. You get two days of training and you get a chance to interact with others who are learning to become volunteers. We recently had an afternoon tea on Zoom which gave me a chance to get to know some of the other befrienders. I would like to do more volunteering while I am in my current situation as I find it rewarding and enjoyable.

 

Find out more about Inverclyde Carers Centre - visit their website.

 

25 Faces of Volunteering - Lilia Fry

Inverclyde Carers Centre

 

Lilia enjoys her volunteering opportunity and has had personal experience of being a carer so understands and empathises with the carers that she befriends.

Tell us about your volunteering

My role is to make befriending phone calls to other carers who may feel isolated or alone as a result of the caring position they find themselves.

Every week I call two different carers. Both are women and both have completely differing experiences of the caring role. Both carers that I am in contact with face isolation in their carers role. Both have had to witness the physical and mental decline of someone very close to them.

Both are happy to chat about this experience - its frustrations and its lighter moments. Generally, they are happy just to chat. The phone calls take place at same time each week and generally last from 30mins -50mins.

Why do you volunteer?

Having been a carer myself I felt that I would like to perhaps offer other people in a similar position a little light relief in the shape of a phone call.

Lockdown meant that face to face meetings were out of the question although that would have my preferred option. I struggled at first with the idea of making phone calls to people I had never met and knew little about. I need not have worried. The calls were appreciated and as we established common interests over weeks and months it became so much easier.

I look forward to the calls as I hope the carers also do.

What do you gain from volunteering?

The fulfilment of a desire to help.

Being the listening ear for someone who might feel they are struggling.

Sharing experiences of caring. Both good and not so good.

The hope that I might have brightened someone's day a little.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

I would say to put any misgivings you might have aside and do it.

Even if you feel unsure, nervous, inadequate or other negative feelings. Do it!

You will have a unique opportunity to make a small difference to another person.

 

Find out more about Inverclyde Carers Centre - visit their website.

25 Faces of Volunteering - Inverclyde Carers Centre

Inverclyde Carers Centre

Inverclyde Carers Centre want to say thank you to all their volunteers who have volunteered their time to support carers. Volunteers are simply invaluable to us and our carers.

Tell us about your organisation

Inverclyde Carers Centre provides support, information and services to unpaid Carers who live in the Inverclyde area. One of our services is providing befriending to Carers who are feeling socially isolated. Carers really value the calls they receive from the volunteers and volunteers often say they get as much out of the experience as the carers they call.

How do you include volunteers in your organisation?

Our volunteers provide befriending to carers who are feeling socially isolated and would like to receive a weekly call from a friendly volunteer who is ready and willing to listen. The support from our volunteers is invaluable to us.

Please tell about your volunteer opportunity

Carers had previously told us that they felt socially isolated in feedback from our annual survey and through conversations with staff. The majority of volunteers who provide this emotional support have previous caring experience or a knowledge of the experience of caring for someone, even if they do not full training is provided.

How is Inverclyde Carers Centre celebrating volunteer week?

As we have not been able to meet up and as we have recruited some volunteers online and only being able to meet through zoom I am arranging to meet up safely outside through Inverclyde Bothy’s Healthy Walks scheme.

 

Find out more about Inverclyde Carers Centre - visit their website.

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