Our first Volunteers’ Week Spirit Story comes from Molly – a volunteer with NAPAC who supports the organisation as a Telephone Support Line Call Handler.
NAPAC helps adults that have been abused in childhood; their main area of work is to offer a Telephone Support line that provides support to adult survivors of child abuse. NAPAC also provides support via e-mail and they pride themselves on answering every call or e-mail they receive individually.
Sam Booth, Supervisor at NAPAC said:
“Our volunteers are a mix of people with direct and indirect experience of child abuse – sometimes they have no experience of this, but want to support our mission and cause. TV programmes and other coverage in recent months has really seen a spike in our activity – in terms of people offering to help and people looking for it.”
“We cover the whole country, which makes people think we’re a huge organisation, but they’ll be just one volunteer handling phone calls for the whole country this afternoon, and just two this evening for the night shift.”
“Volunteers tell me how they feel privileged that they get to help us, and I often see volunteers grow as people which is very rewarding. We recognise the contribution of volunteers through our organisation culture – by sharing positive feedback that we receive of our service and through celebration when a volunteer takes their 100th call. People tell me that I make a good brew too and there’s always plenty of those going around!”
Sam Booth; “We value volunteers, and they know it!”
Molly Wright – Telephone Support Line Call Handler for NAPAC (The National Association of People Abused in Childhood)
How and why did you get into volunteering?
“Some time ago, I struggled with my mental health and suffered from anxiety and depression. I got better and heard of NAPAC through a friend – they said to me: “you’d be a great volunteer!”, I also remember thinking that it would be a good thing to help others.”
“I found NAPAC on Facebook and liked them. I noticed that they had some training coming up and this lead to me making an application with them. After a 6 week course provided me with everything I needed, I started volunteering in January 2017.”
Can you describe a typical day when you volunteer with your organisation?
“I volunteer for one shift a week – which lasts for about 4 hours. We arrive and are met by our lovely supervisors – Sam and Rosie, who have a brief chat with us and update us about anything we need to be aware of when handling telephone calls.”
“Then, I login to the system and make sure I have information sheets close by that are about other organisations and sources of support. I wait for the calls to come in.”
“When someone calls NAPAC, we do what we can; we listen and be there for them, we offer reassurance and information to support them – it’s so rewarding when someone says (at the end of a call), ‘thanks for your help’.”
“The call ends, where my supervisor will talk everything through with me and offers support – I then wait for another call to come in – today, I took 9 phone calls.”
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
“People call NAPAC with no one to turn to – it’s such a privilege to be that person that someone looks to for care and support. Volunteering has helped me grow as a person, and I’ve developed keys skills such as empathy and I feel like I have boosted my own confidence.”
“I remember speaking with someone who was extremely distressed – to the point where I was worried that they were in danger. 30 minutes later – after speaking with me, they were laughing and joking – they even said that they ‘loved me’, which was nice!”
Molly Wright; “Volunteering has made me more confident in myself, and it has helped give me direction when thinking about the career I’d like to consider (counselling).”
What advice would you give to other people that want to volunteer?
“I’d say, if you have spare time and if you want to help someone, you should go for it – you’re spreading the love!”
Sam on Molly:
“Molly is fantastic and has a lovely, unique way with survivors. She’s understanding and creates a sense of ‘I’m here, I’m listening and I care’.”
NAPAC is keen to hear from people who would like to support them; you can read more about the organisation and ways to get involved via their website at: napac.org.uk.