Are you a kinship carer who wants to volunteer? Our Someone Like Me programme needs you!
At the start of June, as the government reported plans to reopen the school gates and lockdown entered its 10th week, we trained up 16 amazing new volunteers to support our Someone Like Me service.
The impact they have had over these three months has been enormous, providing support to the many carers around the country struggling with challenges of homeschooling, shielding and isolation.
Our Someone Like Me programme matches kinship carers with other volunteer kinship carers who have been specially trained to listen and provide emotional support.
During lockdown, our volunteers have reached out to 117 kinship carers, providing up to three calls per carer. Calls have varied from deteriorating behaviour of children to issues around parental contact, and from health concerns to coping with loneliness. With each call, our volunteers’ ability to empathise and relate to the carer’s situation has been absolutely essential – really providing a lifeline.
“The wonderful lady I spoke to truly understood where I was coming from and I felt ‘safe’ speaking to her. She was patient allowing me to ramble on but helped me to step back and look at key points where I had worked through difficult areas of our family life.”
Positive impact of volunteering
The impact of the service has been felt by the volunteers as well. One of our volunteers, Mark, said:
“You get a lot out of helping other people. You can really hear the difference from the start of the call to the end in terms of their mood and sense of ownership. Knowing you’ve had a positive impact on someone’s life, and that it will impact their family too, is really important”
Another of our volunteers, Keri, talked about the connections she’s made on her calls. She explained that Someone Like Me:
“breaks through that isolation, creating that feeling that you’re not in your own in this situation, that others out there are going through similar things. It can be a really unique situation when you talk to someone that understands what you’re going through”
John who is active in his local support group, spoke of the additional benefits volunteering has brought him:
“I’ve benefitted from learning about the needs of others beyond our local group, and have got a lot out of supporting them. I think particularly for those who aren’t in areas with nearby support groups, the opportunity to connect and offload is vital.”
Finally, Jennifer explained:
“Volunteering with Someone Like Me has made me feel part of the wider community of kinship carers as we are often isolated and ‘hidden’ within society. On the calls, carers find we understand the multitude of complex emotions, frustrations and relationships involved and there is often mutual support and appreciation for our individual kinship carer journeys”.
Volunteering with Grandparents Plus
If reading these inspiring stories has encouraged you to get involved, we’ll be delivering another set of online training for new Someone Like Me volunteers later in September. If you’d like to get involved please follow the links by clicking the icons below:
In order to meet the need for calls from our growing number of carers, we need to train up a number of additional volunteers, so do reach out if you’re available and interested.
As a volunteer, you’ll get expert training, meet other volunteers and you’ll work closely with our fantastic staff – helping to shape our volunteering programmes.
But most importantly, you’ll be helping other kinship carers feel less alone.
Our volunteers need to be kinship carers themselves, able to give at least an hour a week, and most importantly, be passionate about supporting and advocating for other carers.