What Volunteer Support Workers say about the work they do
After taking early retirement from my role as a primary school Headteacher and an immensely satisfying and rewarding career in teaching, I found myself with time on my hands. My daughter had just begun her training as a volunteer support worker for The Women's Centre Cornwall and so, my interest awakened, I decided to follow suit. That was 6 years ago and during that time, working with the fantastic women in this wonderful organisation has been equally satisfying and rewarding.The supportive, friendly atmosphere is second to none, and although the nature of the work presents its challenges, we manage to cooperate in a professional manner, share any burdens, have fun and laugh together, whilst encouraging many brave and exceptional women to move forward with their lives.
Being a survivor of child abuse and having spent 12 years as an adult in a domestic violence relationship, I was at a point in my life where I wanted to give back to the community and support other women who had suffered abuse. I joined The Women's Centre Cornwall as a volunteer in 2009 after seeing an advert in the Cornish Guardian. Working with The Women's Centre Cornwall is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being a Volunteer Support Worker is incredibly rewarding and fits around my full time job. I love the fact that the organisation is feminist-focused centre and is run by women for women. The training you receive is of the highest standard and you are supported throughout it. Once complete, you are buddied with another established Volunteer Support Worker who will support you and ease you into the work. The Volunteer Support Worker co-ordinators are always on hand if you need any additional advice, signposting or guidance. There is external supervision too.
I became a Volunteer Support Worker as part of my training to be a counsellor. Initially, it was a pragmatic decision - I needed to get more experience - but I have grown to love the work I do at The Women's Centre Cornwall. It is an absolute honour to be allowed into the lives of the women we support and to see the transformation that can often occur when women are listened to - really listened to, maybe for the first time in their lives - and believed.
People often grimace when I tell them what I do but I can honestly say that the work is, in the main, incredibly rewarding and totally uplifting. To help change the course of another person's life for the better is an amazing privilege and I feel very lucky to have had this experience.