Volunteering – giving back

Archway volunteers are one of a kind, they GIVE an amazing amount of time, expertise and energy tackling loneliness in the community. And it goes without saying that a real sense of satisfaction can be gained from knowing that you may have brightened up someone else’s day. Whether it be serving a cup of tea at Archway’s Wednesday Welcome Cafe, driving someone to a supportive social group so that they can meet with others, being there to listen as a Befriender or simply having a cheerful chat about the weather at a group or in a Befriendee’s home.

But volunteers at Archway should expect more than just a sense of satisfaction from their time with Archway. Volunteers are provided with in-house induction, training and supervision, ideally gaining and building on skills that not only benefit the work of Archway but that could be transferable to other areas of their lives too. After a recent session (see above photo), this is what volunteers said about the experience:

“I feel more confident about my role and to feedback any difficult situations that occur.”

 “It was an interesting and thought provoking session. It was also good to spend time with other volunteers.”

“I have gained a lot from hearing about the experiences of other volunteers and how they dealt with different situations.”

“I found the session interesting and inspiring (even though I have volunteered for Archway for a number of years).”

In the personal sense there is much to be gained from volunteering too. Archway’s volunteers speak of the social confidence that builds from becoming part of the Archway community and Archway aims to nurture these close-knit ties among the volunteers as well as those that they support. One social group volunteer says.

 “Being a naturally shy and quiet person… [volunteering]… has given me confidence to meet new people in a welcoming environment. I look forward to Wednesday mornings and enjoy being part of a friendly and supportive team.  We usually have a laugh together and enjoy each other’s company.”

Many people come to Archway to volunteer because they know for themselves how damaging loneliness can be. Indeed loneliness is an experience that everyone will experience at some point in their lives. Whilst a volunteer’s experience of loneliness is, (with the right support and training), a strong basis for empathy, it also provides volunteers experiencing loneliness with a space to meet others and become part of something too. The personal benefit of volunteering has been researched nationally. For example a recent study confirms that in the broadest sense “starting to volunteer two or more hours per week” reduces loneliness in volunteers who have been widowed.

We want to spread the word about Archway volunteers’ positive experiences of volunteering so that we can find more like minded friendly and empathetic volunteers. So if you are a volunteer who feels passionate about volunteering for Archway, then please tell your friends all about us! They can apply to volunteer here.

And if you have a positive story to share about volunteering for Archway please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you so that we can tell future volunteers about the friendly community that is Archway. Just email us. Thank you!

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