Celebrating Volunteers Week with Hourglass

Volunteers Week is a chance to recognise the amazing contribution the millions of volunteers across the UK make to our communities, giving back and making life better for others.

Through our partnership with Hourglass, the UK’s only charity to focus on the abuse and neglect of older people, we know the difference volunteers make to helping older people live better, safe lives. Being able to listen, understand and help others in a time of real need helps identify and prevent abuse. Through our support, Wales has a dedicated, bi-lingual helpline for people to reach out and find the help and guidance they need to stay safe.

We celebrate Hayley who joined Hourglass as a Helpline volunteer in Wales in March 2020, when the impact of Coronavirus hit, she was looking for a way to help and try to give something back as the world faced a global pandemic. Hayley has previously held roles working with adults with learning disabilities, and prior to this, a role in adult social care, which she felt gave her a good foundation for volunteering with Hourglass.

“I would say to anyone that it’s a wonderful thing to do, and I often refer to it as my 'saving grace' for the week. I love being able to help people and I feel confident that whatever the next call will be, I can help that person.” Hayley Morgan, Helpline volunteer with Hourglass

Here, she tells us about what it’s like to be a volunteer at Hourglass and the advice she would give to others who are looking to do the same.

How did you get into this role?

When the pandemic hit, I started to look for volunteering roles as I wanted to feel like I was doing something to help. I’d left my previous role in December 2019 and felt like I was in a good position to give something back. I’d signed up to various NHS websites for volunteering roles but then saw an advert for Hourglass which I responded to and was then offered the role.

So, you’ve been there a year now, how do you find it?

I love it! I was really impressed with the training I was given before I started answering calls and even though I’d had previous experience working with people in various situations, I felt the training gave me a great foundation for taking calls.

I also had a wonderful manager, Katie, who was really supportive throughout the process which gave me a lot of confidence as a started to work on the helpline.

What sort of training did you get?

The training took eight weeks via Zoom, and as well as being provided with lots of useful signposting information in relation to safeguarding and adult elder abuse, role playing of calls was a big part. This gives you an insight into the types of calls you might have to deal with and an understanding as to how you can best help people. Throughout my career in adult social care and adult learning disabilities, I’d learnt a lot about how to deal with people, but the Hourglass training taught me a lot and was a great way to prepare for taking calls.

How do you feel you help people?

People call into the helpline for a variety of reasons and you never know what type of call or request you are going to receive. Sometimes it’s just a case of taking the time to listen to someone and then providing them with appropriate signposting information for their area. I like to think that if they’ve had the courage to call, then it’s sometimes a case of providing reassurance that someone is there and can help if needed. I’m often taking notes while I’m on calls and thinking about the best way to help someone.We talk through options available and they can then go away and decide what to do next.

There are some calls that warrant a referral and a more immediate response if there are serious safeguarding concerns, but again with Hourglass you can always get guidance on doing this before taking the necessary action.

What have you seen through the pandemic? Have the reasons people call Hourglass changed?

I started in March 2020, just as the pandemic really hit the UK, so I’ve only spoken to people during this time. But, certainly more recently, I’ve seen more family members coming forward who have noticed someone else in the family who may be subject to a form of abuse. In these cases, the pandemic has really highlighted it to other family members who may not have noticed it previously.  More often than not, they don’t know what to do when they’ve seen it and just need advice as what they can do in order to help someone.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with Hourglass?

I would say to anyone that it’s a wonderful thing to do, and I often refer to it as my ‘saving grace’ for the week. I love being able to help people and I feel confident that whatever the next call will be, I can help that person. There is an element of emotional robustness that you need to have but luckily with Hourglass, they provide great training and are hugely supportive to the volunteers. For example, if you’ve just had a stressful call and you need time out, they offer ‘talk time” where you can discuss with someone about what you’ve experienced, which just gives you the confidence of knowing that the charity is there for you.

 

If you, a loved one or a friend are suffering from any type of elder abuse, Hourglass are a call away on 0808 808 8141 or visit their website www.wearehourglass.org

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