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Volunteers Week heroes – helping others with Hourglass

Volunteers Week recognises the millions of volunteers across the UK who work tirelessly to enrich our communities, making life better for others.

We’re working with Hourglass, the UK’s only charity to focus on the abuse and neglect of older people to help raise awareness about elderly abuse and neglect and help older people live better, safe lives.

Earlier this week we celebrated Hayley who joined Hourglass as a Helpline volunteer in Wales in March 2020. Today, we’re clapping our hands for Steven who joined as an Hourglass volunteer over a year ago. He’s always wanted to volunteer and when his work as a bricklayer stalled during the pandemic, he wanted to use his time to help people in need. He’s never had the opportunity to volunteer before and here he tells us how it’s one of the most rewarding things he’s ever done.

“The most rewarding work for me is when I end a conversation with someone and I know that I’ve helped them.” Steven Jones, Helpline volunteer with Hourglass

How did you get into this role?

I’ve never done any type of volunteering before but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a bricklayer and all building work stopped when the pandemic hit so I had a bit of time on my hands during lockdown and thought it would be a great time to do some volunteering. My wife saw a job advert on Facebook and so I went for it and I’m really glad I did.

How have you found the experience so far?

It’s really good, I’m really enjoying it. It’s very rewarding. I work every Wednesday morning from 9am to 1pm on the helpline, chatting to people who need assistance of some sort. Sometimes, I will speak to friends or family of the person who needs help, other times I will speak to the person themselves. My role is to help them as much as I can, which might mean signposting the caller to someone else, which usually happens if it’s a family or friend seeking help or I will have a chat with the person to try and reassure them and help in any way I can.

What was the training like?

I trained for about six weeks I think. It taught me the basics about what to do when someone calls and all the different ways Hourglass could help them. We looked at case studies as examples and practised answering the phone and role playing. I still get nervous but I think that’s just natural as you never know what to expect when people call in.

What qualities do you think you need to be a volunteer for Hourglass?

I think you need to a good listener and have lots of patience and understanding. I think it helps if you are a relaxed person too. Many people ring for different reasons and I always hope I can fix their issue. You have to want to help people.

Why do people ring Hourglass?

Because they need help or advice for someone they know or they just want someone to listen to them. The most rewarding work for me is when I end a conversation with someone and I know that I’ve helped them. The hardest thing is ending the conversation sometimes; things might have happened to them and they just want to talk about and I have spent two hours on the phone to people listening and chatting. Those are the most rewarding cases as you really feel as if you’ve made a difference to someone’s life.

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

I would say to definitely go for it. It’s extremely rewarding to know you are giving your time to help others. I’m self-employed so it means I can take a time off each week to volunteer. I’m really pleased that I’ve joined Hourglass and I hope to continue. It can be hard sometimes because I just want to fix everyone’s problems but it’s good to know you are doing the best you possibly can.