Well, we’re almost there – Volunteers Week 2021. Volunteers Week runs 1st-7th June and it’s where we talk about just how fab our volunteers are.
But this is me – I’m doing something slightly different.
I asked our volunteers about their experiences volunteering with Chrysalis and why they choose to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I can tell you at length about what wonderful volunteers we have and how much we appreciate them. Right now, though, I want them to talk about their experiences.
I had a counsellor, a facilitator, a keyworker and an office volunteer tell me about their experiences of volunteering with us. Here are some of the things they said, grouped loosely into topics.
How we support our volunteers:
“Chrysalis supports me through regular supervision where I am able to discuss what is going ok for me during my work as a counsellor and I use feedback and advise to enhance my counselling work. I recently lost my father and would like to thank [two of the staff] for their continued support during that time.”
“For me the most helpful thing is that I know I am not alone in what I do. I can always count on office staff for advice/support/a kind word when needed! I also feel like talking to you has provided me with a different perspective, which has improved my ability to support people appropriately.”
“The entire team are always quick at getting back to me when I have any queries about the work that needs doing. They are also able to find me more work when I asked for it.”
“At my induction last year (before the first lockdown) I attended a working with trans client and colleagues and gender awareness training. Before this training I wasn’t really aware of the types of problems that trans clients face, such as the financial hurdles to change their gender or the lengthy time it takes for an appointment at a gender identity clinic. This training has helped me to support my clients.”
“Facilitation training gave me the confidence to know how best to support members within a group setting, and a framework to go by. “
“Skills workshops help improve my listening skills and provide practice on how to offer objective support.”
Things that they have learned whilst volunteering with us:
“How important it is to be there for someone, even if you are not able to actually provide any ‘practical’ help. A kind word and a listening ear can go a long way.”
“Firstly, a much greater understanding of some parts of the transgender community.
Secondly, deeper understanding of most of the apps we use to create surveys.”
“How to facilitate a group and how to listen more effectively”
“How to step out of my comfort zone to do something different, and realise that its actually not as scary as you think!”
“In the beginning, it was a little scary, as I was new to supporting trans individuals. With the support and training received I felt more and more confident, and I always find it very rewarding and challenging in a positive way.”
Why they choose to remain volunteering with us and what they would say to someone thinking of doing so:
“I have been a volunteer for chrysalis now for over a year (where has that time gone) and feel a valued member of the team. If you have a passion for helping others and want to expand your knowledge I would definitely recommend volunteering for Chrysalis.”
“Regardless of what your expertise is, there is always something that you can help with. For example, all of my degrees are in the environmental and climate change field, yet I can use all of my experience with research to be of help.”
“I chose to volunteer for Chrysalis as I wanted to learn more about the experiences of the trans community. I choose to stay a volunteer of Chrysalis because I feel that I am making a difference to lives of the members I support, and it is a rewarding experience.”
“Excellent volunteer support and excellent training.”
“I started for a few reasons, actually. The first was that I want to help people that need it. The second was that I wanted to become more informed about transgender community. And the third was purely selfish, in that I needed to be doing something to stop me getting depressed.”
“I just know that I have enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would”
“Having volunteered with several different organisations previously, Chrysalis is definitely the most welcoming and supportive place I’ve encountered.”
“I wasn’t expecting the level of support Chrysalis provides to its’ volunteers. There’s always someone to talk to if you have any concerns, you are kept up to date with everything that is happening within the charity, and basically looked after.”
“It’s visibly rewarding – you can see that you are making a difference.”
“I enjoy it. It’s very rewarding to see how members benefit from being in a group, particularly when you see their viewpoints change over time.”
“I know how hard things can be not finding the right support when you are questioning how you feel about yourself. So it’s really important to me personally that I am able to support Chrysalis members who need someone to talk to and to work through things in their life.”
I hope that you have enjoyed reading what our volunteers have to say about us. If you are thinking of volunteering with us, please check out our volunteering page, here.