Spotlight on Volunteering “Our main aim should always be to support and cheer up the person we are talking to.” During Volunteers Week, we asked one of our volunteers to tell us a little bit about herself and to share with us some of her experiences of being a volunteer. Pauline has been a volunteer with us for over six years now and we can’t thank her enough for all of the time and support she has given to us. Q. What is your volunteering role? A. I phone carers to support, listen and help them feel happier. I also keep in touch with Alison (the volunteer coordinator) if I feel that I might need some extra support and that is really helpful. Q. What inspired you to first get involved with WAC? A. I tend to lean towards people who can be leading a rather solitary life style. I simply want them to feel that someone cares and will keep in touch with them. Little things they say will make you realise how much they appreciate such an input and it is just nice to have a laugh and a good chat. Q. What is your favourite WAC volunteer memory? A. There are so many. The funny things that carers say on the phone, along with the relief you can sense in their tone, when they thought (goodness knows why) that we were not going to call them anymore. Even the partners will pipe up and say "I told you to stop worrying - she won't let you down". Our calls are more worthwhile than we sometimes realise. Q. What is the best part about being a volunteer? A. Just knowing that you are helping someone feel happier, even if it is only for a short while. Q. Have you experienced any lows as a volunteer? A. No I have not. I feel a little sad knowing how difficult it can be to be a carer but I feel I am there to cheer them up. I will listen to their worries, which they are often reluctant to talk about to their relatives etc. Just by having someone there to listen to them helps the carers to feel a little happier. Q. What sort of feelings/emotions do you feel while you are volunteering? A. I just enjoy a good laugh and we often end up giggling and having fun. They know I care and that they can talk about their problems in confidence. They deserve to feel good for a while. Q. How has volunteering with WAC changed you as a person? A. It makes me realise that so many people need us. Someone to talk to - someone who cares - someone who will not condemn - someone they can talk to privately - someone to share a good laugh with. Q. Are there any experiences in particular that have really stuck with you? A. Over many years what has struck me the most is when carers are in despair and are so grateful for the support we give. We are often a life line and our main aim should always be to support and cheer up the person we are talking to. Q. What advice would you give to someone who was considering taking on any sort of volunteering role? (Not just for WAC) A. Think about why you are doing it. Do not struggle on if you are not enjoying what you are doing but don't give up volunteering as there is probably another outlet that would suit you much better. If you are happy you do a much better job. There will be something out there for you that you will feel so rewarding and is such a help to the people who need us. Q. Would you recommend volunteering for WAC? Why or why not? A. Absolutely. It is rewarding. We meet lovely people and we are helping those who need our help.