Volunteering with Fylde Coast Women’s Aid
Volunteering can be a very rewarding experience. It is a great opportunity to meet new people, develop new skills and enhance employability.
There are many ways that volunteers can help our organisation. Here are some of the key roles:
Please complete the attached form and return to;
Whilst going through a very traumatic time in my life I decided to try and focus my mind on other things. I had always wanted to do voluntary work and now the time was right. I searched the web pages for local voluntary organisations and came across Fylde Coast Women’s Aid. Although not having experienced domestic violence personally, I am close to two women that spent many years being physically and mentally abused by their husbands. Both these women moved on and now have new lives with caring and loving partners.
After taking the first step and contacting FCWA I attending two induction courses, both of which I found to be very stimulation and most certainly eye opening. This made me even more eager to offer any help I could to this worthy cause. I would certainly recommend becoming a volunteer for FCWA to anyone considering voluntary work.
“My best moment has to be when I was able to follow a case through. From picking up the helpline and talking to a distraught women, to seeing her arrive at the refuge with her belongings.That’s when you feel like you have made a difference.”
“I had a woman who called the helpline and then made the decision to leave. Knowing that she was safe made me feel really great for the rest of the week!”
“It is great when someone comes to drop in and you can see them changing over the weeks. They start to get stronger and you know they are going to make it.”
I arrive at the office and start by performing some administrative tasks, such as typing thank you letters, photocopying, doing some Internet research or making up packs to be used by the children’s and young people’s workers. One week I might be writing letters to local companies to request donations, and another week I might be helping to proofread some literature.
After lunch, I help out in the donations room. FCWA receives many donations of clothes and other items. The clothes are to be used by women and children staying in refuge, as well as other service users in need. The donations need to be sorted into different boxes according to size. Sometimes we end up with a surplus of clothes that cannot all be used by FCWA’s service users. When this happens, we can sell them on to a company who pays for clothing and books by weight. This is a good way for FCWA to use unneeded items to raise funds, and in a year we have raised nearly £1,000. Other donations include toiletries, bedding, toys, games, books and bric-a-brac. They all needed to be sorted and made available for workers to deliver to service users. For items that cannot be used at all, we must decide how to pass them on. Some items have successfully been sold in the local newspaper; those with no monetary value are passed on to charity shops. Fortunately, FCWA receives a large number of donations, so there is always work to be done sorting through them.
The children and young people’s worker picks me up at 9.15, and we drive to a high school. It is the second of three days we will spend at that school over the next few weeks. We are delivering an early intervention programme on bullying, healthy/unhealthy relationships and domestic abuse. We meet the teacher of the class we are going to talk to first, and set up our resources. The class arrives; it is a Year 7 class, so the children are aged 10-11. The previous week we discussed bullying: what constitutes bullying, how it makes us feel, and who we can turn to if we are bullied. This week, we are focusing on domestic abuse. The CYP worker talks to the class, and I help with handing out resources, and talking to the children as they are working together. We show them a DVD of animated stories of real children who have experienced domestic abuse. This is followed by a discussion of the DVD, and of domestic abuse in general, and the children can ask any questions they might have.
During break, we sit in a quiet office, and the children are free to come and talk to us if they want to discuss any issues that might have come up for them. It is a chance for them to talk about things that might be worrying them at home, or things that are going on at school. A few come to talk about issues they are having with bullying at school. We listen to them and help them to find solutions e.g. work out who at school they can talk to, and what the next step might be. One girl comes to talk to us about her mum and her mum’s boyfriend, who has been violent towards her mum. The girl is in already contact with social services and other agencies. We help her to identify people at the school that she can talk to, and tell her about how FCWA could help her and/or her mum, if she wants.
After break, we work with another class in the same way and then stay over lunch in case any more children want to talk to us. The worker passes on any relevant information regarding any safe-guarding issues to school staff. We get back to the FCWA office at about 2.00 pm.