As we continue to celebrate National Volunteers' Week and the contribution of our own volunteers, we're working with other charity partners to deliver support to RAF veterans and serving personnel. Next month we're launching a new bereavement programme in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care.
The programme is entirely run by dedicated volunteers who are trained to lend an ear to those who need to talk about their grief. In this blog, Cruse volunteer Steve Slatter tells us what it's like to be a volunteer bereavement counsellor.
As a bereavement volunteer, I spend one afternoon a week manning the helpline and answering calls from people who are bereaved.
Some of these people are merely seeking information about Cruse and its services, while some wish to spend time talking and looking for support which we provide entirely anonymously and in a safe fashion, and I think this enables people to open up to us.
The role requires empathy, understanding, patience, and the ability to listen and be non-judgemental.
What I enjoy the most about volunteering is when I can hear the difference in a person's voice at the end of a call, or they tell me they feel better for talking things through with me, it is hugely uplifting. I want to help make a difference and when I'm able to, it's a fantastic feeling.
We do what we do not for money or glory, but out of kindness and goodness. I don't personally need any recognition but I think in this day and age people who give up their time to help others for free should be celebrated.
I'm about to retrain as a counsellor and having experienced bereavement myself I had wanted to use my experience to help others.