Would You Care To Volunteer?

Would You Care To Volunteer?

by The Association of Carers

A Hastings-based charity which supports unpaid carers throughout East Sussex is looking for people to join their team of volunteers.

The aim of the Association of Carers is to give carers some time to themselves, while a volunteer keeps a loved one company in their home.

Volunteers might spend their time chatting over tea, playing games, or reading with their charge, or they may simply sit with a person who is asleep, ensuring they are kept safe. Volunteers can also teach carers basic computer skills, enabling them to do online shopping or banking, or keep in touch with family. Seemingly simple tasks that can make a carers life a bit easier.

The charity also offers telephone support services, giving carers the chance to discuss their caring role in confidence with a supportive listener. This role is carried out from a volunteer’s own home.

The level of need is fully assessed by the charity and, in advance of a volunteer taking on a new role, they would visit the carer and the cared for person with one of the charity’s representatives, to ensure a perfect match.

A full induction is offered to volunteers, and there is on-going support and training opportunities, such as Safeguarding, First Aid, Listening Skills and more.

Jane Caley, who works for the charity, says that volunteers would ideally commit regular time for a minimum of one year. This enables carers, volunteers and the person being cared for the chance to settle into a routine and build strong relationships. However, even if you couldn’t commit for this long, they would still love to hear from you.

Jane said, “Anyone over 18 is invited to volunteer with us. A lot of our volunteers are slightly older. Many are retired, or people who have themselves been in caring roles. It would be fantastic to recruit some younger people, and provide an opportunity to build rewarding intergenerational relationships.”

The weekly time commitment is fairly low level – as little as 30 minutes a week – and it is possible to be flexible and work around people’s lives. “We totally understand that work and family life can make finding time to volunteer difficult,” Jane says, “but perhaps people who work part-time would be interested, or parents whose children are at school during the day.”

Many of the people being cared for have varying degrees of progression through disease, others might have dementia. All of them find the experience of spending time with their regular volunteer an enriching one, and the support makes a huge difference to carers. Volunteers are not required to carry out any personal care, such as toileting tasks for example – it is simply about providing company and keeping the cared-for person safe.

Carers who need support are either referred by professionals or are able to approach the charity directly.

If you are interested in volunteering or to find out more information you can learn more at www.associationofcarers.org.uk or call 01424 722309.