Personal Prompt: Changes~what major (or minor) changes have happened to you this year that have made a difference in your life?
As this is a personal prompt I have decided to write about something that is personal to me. Not the children, Mr B, extended family or work (all of which have seen significant changes) but something that relates to me. And the biggest change I have made this year is finally “giving something back”.
After various personal losses over the past few years I started thinking seriously about doing a counselling course because people have often told me that I have helped them when they have neeed it or that I am good at listening. When I wore glasses and helped friends at school I earned the nickname “granny”, aged about 11! That has stuck with me and whenever I can I have tried to listen and do what I can to help.
I wanted to give something back to society. I had reached a point in my life where my job allowed me some flexibility to be able to spend sometime doing this.
So having looked at just what was involved in a counselling course I thought about volunteering because I just wanted to “get on with it” and not spend five years in a classroom.
That’s when I found out about Victim Support. A wonderful organisation but not many people have heard of them. A charity set up to help the victims of crime, with either emotional or practical support. The practical support could be something such as a small personal alarm or a tour of the court before they have to give evidence. Or maybe a new lock after a burglary. The budget is very small so every case is assessed carefully but if there is a real need Victim Support can see what they can do.
The emotional support is obviously much more in depth and goes on for as long as the client needs it. In the case of a major crime such as a murder or rape, it can be a year until it comes to trial. Victim Support are always there. People have said to me “but isn’t that what Family Liaison Officers are for”. Well, yes, partly. But they are still serving police officers, it is not their job to sit and listen and keep things confidential. It is their job to keep the press from the door and liaise between authorities. This is where Victim Support come in.
I was CRB checked, and then given seven days of “core crime” training and then a fellow volunteer mentor who was there to help me, along with an incredibly supportive Service Delivery Manager who is based full time in the office.
To date I have helped a dozen or so people. The referrals always coming from the office with as much supporting information as they can gather and always treated in the stricest confidence. It is then up to me to contact the client and speak to them, or arrange to visit them, as often and for as long as the client requires. Some cases have been just a couple of phone calls, some have been weekly visits for a couple of months.
I give my time for free but my fuel to meetings and phone calls are all reimbursed.
Speaking to a client for the first time is always hard, I never quite know how the phone call will go, or how long it will last, or what will be revealed. I know though that support is there for me, should I need it.
Closing the cases is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Knowing that the client feels able to deal with what has happened to them and no longer needing my support is an extraordinary feeling.
Early next year I hope to go on and do further training to support victims of domestic violence and maybe even eventually do the murder and manslaughter training.
So here is my one small change that has made an enormous difference to my life and is going some way to making a difference to other’s too.
If you would like to make a difference too then do look at how to volunteer, there are all sorts of things you can volunteer to do, things you have probably never considered. Or you can investigate Victim Support and maybe donate a couple of Pounds.
That small amount of money could buy that personal alarm that gives somebody who has been housebound the confidence to leave the house for the first time in weeks.
This is my day 8 entry for Britmums #NaBloPoMo where I have committed to blog everyday in November