New volunteers complete prep course with flying colours

Each year we hold a Volunteer Preparation Course for newly recruited volunteers, which is a great way for everyone to meet and introduce themselves. This year, however, due to the pandemic, we had to do things differently – it was the first time that we presented the whole course online via Zoom.

It’s safe to say, we were nervous about how this might or might not work, as the coursework does generally work better person to person. But, we are happy to share that the newest recruits took to it like ducks to water!

One of our new volunteers wrote about her experience…

My first steps to becoming a Home-Start Volunteer

I enrolled to become a Home-Start Volunteer after my youngest child started secondary school. With more time available to me, I wanted to do something worthwhile and rewarding and thought that embarking on a new career in volunteering would be a great way to give something back to the community. Home-Start was an obvious choice for me given the work the organisation does in providing support for local families.

Following an initial interview with my co-ordinator and completing a straightforward application, I was ready to start the 8-week training course. There were nine other volunteers doing the course at the same time, and due to Covid restrictions, the course had to be delivered by Jackie and Jo over Zoom. This didn’t seem to be an issue though, as the sessions were engaging and instructive. I was quite nervous on the first day, but Jackie and Jo made us all feel at ease and kept the activities as interactive as possible with lots of opportunities to ask questions. We also had the opportunity to work in smaller groups, which allowed us to get to know each other well and I felt I learned so much from sharing knowledge and personal experiences.

The course covered topics such as child development, safeguarding, confidentiality and the challenges experienced by families. Other important aspects were also covered, such as developing listening skills and understanding and respecting the different values and points of view that people have.

At first, I was anxious about my own capabilities as a volunteer – would I be able to offer the support to those families that needed it? However, the extensive and comprehensive training helped me realise that my own experiences as a mother and being able to listen and communicate could make a huge difference when supporting a family. In particular, I found the tasks such as having to analyse different scenarios really useful as we got to hear alternative points of view from the co-ordinators and the other volunteers. Jackie and Jo did a really great job delivering the training.

I am looking forward to meeting other volunteers in person as I now very much feel part of a team. I feel fully supported by the co-ordinators and on completing the course I feel prepared and ready to fulfill the role. I am excited to be matched with a family.

D.J., Home-Start Volunteer

Quotes from Volunteers

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