Our helpline volunteers take calls from women who are having a difficult time for whatever reason.
Volunteers offer callers a confidential, non-judgemental listening service. If you want to volunteer, you need to be a good listener, have a calm manner and be able to speak clearly. You would need to commit to a 3 hour shift each week for at least a year and attend monthly supervision meetings.
To find out more about what is involved and what we offer to our Helpline Volunteers please click below:
Thank you for your interest in volunteering for us. We have outlined below some details and information about the helpline and the volunteer role that you might need to know before making a decision about applying for the helpline training.
About Womankind’s Telephone Helpline
Women ring our telephone Helpline for a number of reasons such as:
- To talk about an area of difficulty in their lives, such as problems with relationships or mental health difficulties.
- To access support because they have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence.
- To access support because of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.
- To access other services offered by Womankind such as counselling.
Callers can express high levels of distress and calls can be challenging, therefore, we are looking for volunteers who are in an emotionally resilient point in their own lives, and so able to support women in emotional distress.
The Helpline shift times are:
|Monday||9.30am – 1pm; 12.30 – 3.30pm; 7.30 – 10.30pm|
|Tuesday||9.30am – 12.30pm; 12.30 – 3.30pm; 7.30 – 10.30pm|
|Wednesday||9.30am – 12.30pm; 12.30 – 3.30pm|
|Thursday||9.30am – 12.30pm|
|Friday||9.30am – 12.30pm|
We generally have more available shifts for volunteering during the day time.
What we offer you:
- Comprehensive in-house helpline training.
- The opportunity to gain knowledge about the issues that affect our callers such as domestic and sexual abuse and mental health difficulties.
- The opportunity to learn and develop further the use of counselling skills on a telephone helpline.
- Experience of volunteering for a mental health organisation.
- Ongoing support and supervision around your work on the helpline, including full debrief after each shift.
- The opportunity to meet and socialise with other volunteers.
What we ask of you:
- To make a commitment of at least one year on the helpline after your training.
- Commit to cover one shift a week; a shift being three (or three and a half hours on Monday mornings) in length including administration and debriefing time.
- Attend supervision every month normally on the first Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm.
The helpline training is delivered by the Volunteer Service Coordinators and comprises of sixty hours of training. This includes four full-day training sessions (normally on Weekends) plus skills practices, directed study to be undertaken at home, individual tutorials and supervision sessions and induction sessions. The training covers some of the skills of counselling as well as looking at specific issues such as sexual and domestic abuse as well as the essential organisational and Helpline policies, procedures and guidelines. The training forms a part of the recruitment process and volunteers are required to successfully complete the training in order to become a helpline volunteer.
Our next helpline training programme will begin in February 2018, the dates are as follows:
|Saturday 10th February||10am – 4pm|
|Sunday 18th February 2018||10am – 4pm|
|Sunday 4th March||10am – 4pm|
|Saturday 25th March||10am – 4pm|
You will need to be able to attend ALL 4 dates
Please note that following successful completion of your training there may be a staggered start as we need volunteers throughout the year.
The Volunteer Service Coordinators will offer ongoing support to the volunteers. There will be a debriefing session at the end of each shift and volunteers will be given further support during monthly group supervision meetings.
We also ask that you ensure that you have your own personal support network. Whilst we ask that you don’t discuss the content of the calls outside of Womankind, you might need some support around any feelings that come up for you and you will need to feel sufficiently supported in your personal life.
Helpline training, supervision meetings and the Helpline are run from our premises in Brunswick Square in central Bristol.
If you have read all of the above and are interested in applying to become a helpline volunteer please fill in the application and monitoring forms and email them to us – or post to:
Suzi Brooke, Womankind, 3rd Floor Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, BRISTOL BS2 8PE
Once we have received your application forms we will contact you to discuss the interview process. All information given on the forms will be treated in confidence. Please feel free to email us or ring us if you would like to discuss any aspect of helpline volunteering.
Tel: 0345 458 2914 or 0117 9166461 (leave a message for Suzi or Nicola) – or email:
Volunteer Service Coordinator
Womankind offices, central Bristol
3-3.5 hours per week during Helpline opening hours
About Womankind and the Helpline service
Womankind is an established charity that is run by women for women. We help hundreds of women every year to improve their mental health and wellbeing so they can experience a better quality of life.
The helpline provides a confidential, non-judgemental and empathic listening support service to enable women to talk about issues and feelings which are affecting them.
What will I be doing as a Helpline volunteer?
- Providing warm non-judgemental listening support to callers, as well as information about Womankind’s services to callers seeking counselling or group therapy.
- Carrying out Helpline administrative tasks such as taking messages and responding to e-mail enquiries about our services.
- Participating in debriefing sessions after each helpline shift, and attending monthly group supervision in order to receive support and guidance in your role.
What experience do I need?
Womankind provides comprehensive training and supervision, but it’s helpful if you have some of the following skills and qualities:
- Good communication and interpersonal skills, and be able to listen to others.
- To be non-judgmental and be able to empathise.
- Punctual, patient and reliable.
- We welcome volunteers with lived experience of mental health and other relevant issues, but ask you to think of the reality of listening to similar material to your own and consider what affect that might have on you before taking on this role. If you have experienced any significant distressing life events or experiences, then we require that you have had a period of stability of a year before taking on this role.
What we ask from you:
- We ask you to commit to one 3-hour (or 3.5 hours on Mondays) helpline session per week, as well as attending monthly group supervision which takes place on Monday or Tuesday evenings 6.30-8pm.
- We ask that volunteers commit to volunteering with us for a minimum of one
What can we offer you?
- A comprehensive training programme and full induction are provided.
- Ongoing opportunities for learning in the role through debriefing sessions after each shift and monthly group supervision.
- Out of pocket expenses paid in line with Womankind’s policies.
What you could get out of volunteering:
- Quality comprehensive training to enable you to develop new skills.
- The chance to gain experience of working within a mental health setting.
- The chance to meet new people and attend volunteer social events.
- Opportunities for personal development and progression.
Application → Interview → References → Training → Induction