When you think about volunteering you might imagine helping out at an event or joining a group of people to help spruce up a neglected space, but while it’s always good to do things in person, more and more of us are volunteering virtually, using desktop computers, laptops and even our phones to make a difference.
Here at Beacon at least half of our volunteers now support us virtually and many of them are telephone befrienders, calling people in their community at risk of loneliness for a catch-up.
During National Volunteers’ Week (June 1st – 7th) we spoke to three of our befrienders about what being a volunteer means to them.
Nicole Gill joined our telephone befriending scheme because she wanted to make an impact on someone’s life, helping them to feel less isolated and lonely.
She is also a mentor to young children, volunteers at a women’s resource centre and is in full-time education studying sociology.
She told us: “I really enjoy supporting people as it is very rewarding, particularly in this role as I help people who would otherwise be lonely which is good for their mental health.
I love listening to the stories of the people I speak to about their younger days, they are fascinating!”
MA student Weronika signed up to become a volunteer Telephone Befriender as she has sight loss and wanted to help others in a similar situation.
She said: “I know how hard, and how lonely it can get when you experience vision loss so I signed up because I wanted to help people like me.
“I most enjoy the connection I have with the people I talk to. I notice that the more I talk to someone, the more they open up and talk about the things they love and the things they hate which makes me happy because it shows I am helping them get their emotions out and socialize which is the main goal of befriending.”
Angie started volunteering with Beacon’s Befriending scheme during the pandemic because she wanted to help others. She is currently training to become a mental health Support Worker and said what she enjoys the most is knowing that she is appreciated. She told us: “I understand what loneliness means, how important it is that individuals have a chance to have a chat, to be heard.”
If you’d like to find out more about how you can volunteer virtually with Beacon by becoming one of our Telephone Befrienders call us on 01902 880 111 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.