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07 June 2018

Celebrating our volunteers: Moving on together

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, Mandy Gilmour Support Worker for East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service talks about the importance of volunteers:

“It’s rather poignant to be asked to write about the importance of volunteers, on this, the final week of funding for the Moving on Together Programme.

“Reflecting on the journey of the volunteer mentors and I as the coordinator, I remember the initial process was slow and there were various stumbling blocks along the way. But we persisted and successfully recruited and trained 15 enthusiastic volunteer mentors. Collectively they contributed over 300 hours of face to face support and 500 hours of indirect support to survivors of domestic abuse.

“For some this voluntary work was low level emotional support; a friendly face, a listening ear, an understanding of the issues being faced. A number of mentors became involved in more complex situations such as emergency legal orders to have children returned. Others chose to get involved in fundraising and attended awareness events.

“The mentors also participated in celebrating East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service’s 10th anniversary earlier this year. They worked alongside staff to set up and facilitate the Souls of our Shoes exhibition. As part of the project (highlighting the number of women who are killed each year by a current or ex-partner), volunteers met those who visited the exhibition and become familiar with the real life case studies, highlighting the very real outcomes for some unable to access intervention or support.

“I, alongside the mentors, gained so much from this journey.

“We were careful to match volunteers’ strengths and weaknesses to our differing needs. It was great to watch as volunteers’ initial concerns were washed away; each mentor completely came into their own, supporting survivors to reach their potential.

“Funding restrictions are continually squeezing domestic abuse services. It is only through the support of the volunteer mentors and the Moving on Together programme, that East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service has been able to provide such a comprehensive service to those living with or having fled domestic abuse.

“Thank you to all our priceless volunteers for all their dedicated support over the last year.”