Volunteering for Nelson’s Journey: Andrea

In what capacity do you volunteer for Nelson’s Journey? e.g. support in the office, therapeutic interventions, events, youth panel etc.

Since starting 12 months ago I’ve volunteered at: events and day’s out, manned Nelson’s Journey stalls, helped in the office, helped at a residential weekend, given talks, supported Nelson’s Journey staff when they deliver Child Bereavement Awareness Training to professionals and even been an Extra for a short film promoting the NJ Purple Picnic. And…As it happens – tonight I’m going to a Ball (just call me Cinders!) to represent NJ and give information to attendees.

What was your motivation to volunteer for Nelson’s Journey?

When I moved to Norfolk (3 years ago) I was looking for a voluntary role which made use of my skills and experience in supporting vulnerable children and families. I kept hearing about Nelson’s Journey. And not just the odd comment but praises sung, unanimously, about the fantastic work the charity does.  A year ago, and after some research into the charity I applied to become a volunteer. I was very quickly interviewed and began my very own Nelson’s Journey, journey. And what a 12 months it’s been… I was welcomed on board by all the staff, who always have a smile and kind word for the volunteers no matter how busy they are or what they are dealing with through their work. Staff give excellent support to their volunteers and are always there to give guidance if needed. In January I was surprised and felt very proud to have been presented with a Bronze Volunteer award in recognition of the hours I had spent, over my first 8 months, supporting NJ.

What do you feel you get out of volunteering for a charity?

I look forward to continuing supporting in as many ways as I can because I feel there are still potential service users who don’t know enough about the services offered by Nelson’s Journey. And because service users themselves are so very grateful of support from staff and volunteers at difficult times in their lives. It is always rewarding when people feel they are able to tell you their story and talk about how they have been helped through their journey of bereavement. Volunteering for this charity has helped me to focus on something I wholeheartedly believe in and has helped me utilise my spare time in such a positive and uplifting way.

Have you learnt any new skills whilst volunteering for us?

I have pushed myself to do things I’ve never done before and really enjoyed the challenge. For instance, when I was interviewed I said that “I THINK i can give talks to groups of people”. And even after the training, I still wasn’t quite sure I could do it. But I did do it, and I loved it. I saw the impact that the information I was giving had on the attendees, listened to their stories and was overwhelmed by their support. I realised that it’s not about me and how I feel about standing up in front of a group and talking, it’s about spreading that all important NJ message and gaining peoples trust and support.  On the training weekend I learnt how difficult it is to do, what appears to be a simple task, without the wholehearted support of your team. As far as outstanding team work goes, I feel that Nelson’s Journey have got it nailed!

Have there been any ‘stand out’ moments for you whilst volunteering and if so can you tell us a little more about it?

Thinking back over the last year of volunteering I couldn’t pick one single outstanding moment because each time I have helped, no matter what I’ve been doing, there have been moments in every situation that stand out for me. I’m looking forward to many more ‘stand-out moments’ on my continuing journey as a volunteer with Nelson’s Journey.