You can read the inspiring stories of some of our current volunteers below. If you want to know more about volunteering for Family Lives, have a look at our Volunteer Information Pack.
The reason I choose to volunteer was because I had the time and energy to be able to give to something that I could choose to do. I chose Family Lives because when I visited the office and spoke to the workers there I realised what a valuable job they do for people by being able to listen to whatever's troubling them. As a volunteer I am treated as any other worker and am well supported too. The office is a very friendly place to be with like-minded people, all wanting to give to others and help them through difficult stages in their lives.
"I can hear the relief in people's voices after talking to us"
Without our wonderful volunteers, we wouldn't be able to be there for families who need us. Jacqui volunteers on our helpline - this is her story.
I applied to be a volunteer at Family Lives as I have always worked with children and families. I wanted to use my skills and learn new ones that might help others in need. I loved the training and was sad when it ended. We get amazing ongoing support and training which is always, really helpful and gives us the opportunity to meet other volunteers, and learn from each other's experiences.
Our calls are very varied and you never know what each shift will bring, which keeps it interesting and challenging. We get a lot of calls around divorce & separation, bullying, social media, mental health, domestic violence etc. It is very helpful to debrief after our shifts as we can reflect on what was helpful and what we could do differently next time. We also learn from listening to each other.
I have learnt so much from working at Family Lives. We have a great team of dedicated people who are passionate about helping others and are lovely to work with. I feel proud to be part of a charity that changes people's lives, I can hear the relief in people's voices after talking to us and it is a wonderful feeling to know that you are making a difference.
I would definitely recommend working at Family Lives, it is a fantastic charity that really looks after and values its volunteers. You will learn life lessons which will enhance your family and the families you support along the way.
Having reached a certain point in my personal life - being married and with time to give - I wanted to share something of myself which might bring benefit to someone else. I waited to be able to attend the skills training workshops - well worth waiting for. Training was interesting and challenging and equipped me with enough to feel confident to be 'let loose' on the phone lines! For me, being part of a supportive team which puts value on providing a listening ear to people in their time of real need, cannot be overestimated. It's the simple things which matter most.
Arif's story: from service user to volunteer
I am 50 and I have a three year old. Until I became a father parenthood meant nothing to me and I'd been focused on developing my career.
The arrival of my new baby enlightened me to join 'Dad’s life', which is a three evenings course. I thought some of the dads might be shocked at my age, but when I got there I found it wasn't a problem and there were dads there of all ages - from teenager up.
Before the first session we were all asked to bring the challenge: what is the challenge facing you today? I'd been having a difficult time with my three year old who, after brushing her teeth, would throw her toothbrush on the bathroom floor. I didn't know how to correct it, so took it in as my challenge.
When I went there, I was very embarrassed because there were people there with much more serious problems than mine - I heard stories of deprivation and teenagers who would stay up at night. They were in despair and I could see their tears. It made me aware of some of the serious issues that parents face, and that I had no insight into this world. I stuck with the course though, and eventuallty it did help me to solve my problem!
I then started promoting Family Lives to my friends and family, and I realised that many people from my community had very little knowledge about the organisation or family support it offers. This inspired me to help out, so I joined the London and South East region office as a volunteer. During my training, a paid role came in and I applied successfully. I'm now one of the project coordinators.