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We asked some of our wonderful volunteers who give up their time to help Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust about their experiences. Here we speak to Carole.
In what way do you volunteer for Jo’s and what does it entail?
I volunteer on the helpline for about three hours twice a month. I am free to choose the days that suit me best and fit into my private life. During a shift I may get four phone calls or only one.
When did you first start volunteering for the charity and why did you become a volunteer?
I started working on the Helpline around four years ago following finding out about the charity's services through my job as a nurse. Within the scope of my practice I see first-hand how many women do not attend their screening appointments and also know how many women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. I wanted to make a difference above and beyond my job. I couldn't afford the time needed to lead a support group, so being a helpline operator was the way I could make a positive impact.
How did you become a volunteer with and how did you find the training?
I filled out an application form and had a telephone interview with Rebecca, the Head of Services. The training is two days' long and I received lots of tips and techniques on how to handle calls. All the helpliners are given information manuals to support the training. At the end I also had a test call with Rebecca and that was nerve wracking, but it was such a great learning experience.
Has there been a particularly striking moment or experience during your work as a volunteer? If so, what was it?
Rebecca recorded one of my calls once and played it back to me and it was a hard call. Only when she played it back to me did I actually realise how tough the call was and it brought tears to my eyes. I think that's probably the most memorable moment. In general I just think it's fantastic that I am able to provide a degree of support to women going through a sometimes difficult and worrying time.
What would you say to someone who is not sure if they should volunteer for the charity?
Definitely do it! Go ahead and just try it. It really gives you so much satisfaction the way you can help and sometimes just listen to the difficult journey people are going through. I'm so proud to be part of the charity as a volunteer.