Happy Volunteers’ Week! Volunteers are a valued and integral part of the team at VOCAL, and we couldn’t do our work without their help. A big thank you to all of our volunteers for your contribution!
Employers volunteer Linda Black shares her story
“How it all started: I was at my ‘breaking point’ around 11.5 years ago. I was working full time in a stressful job in Financial Services, we had four ill parents and I was trying to organise our wedding.
I went for a GPs appointment and ended up bursting into tears explaining all that was going on and I was struggling to juggle all these plates when my GP told me about VOCAL and gave me a leaflet. My immediate reaction was ‘but I’m not a carer I’m just a daughter’ – how many of us just don’t identify ourselves as Carers!
I got in contact with VOCAL via email and explained a few things I was struggling with and they were brilliant at supporting me with info and generally signposting the help I could get for our parents and many things they were entitled to, as well as support for me.
Around a year later my colleague at work was setting up a Carers Network and she realised we had many working carers struggling to work and care for loved ones. I shared my story of the amazing support VOCAL had given me, truly a life saver when I needed them most and so that was the beginning of a wonderful working partnership between VOCAL and our Carers Network.
Over the last 8-10 years VOCAL and our Carers Network hosted many events, as a company we could sometimes provide event space for us to get together and host other Employers Carers Networks events, share best practice, support other carers networks starting up and help each other on the big journey we were all on.
VOCAL came into provide Line Manager Training and other courses, supported us during Carers Week promotions with so many important support options for carers who are working on a one-to one basis as well as working with our Carers Network to look at the bigger picture and plan ahead to ensure we retain these amazing unpaid carers within our organisation – which was so important we hold onto these great people whilst supporting them through their carers journey.
I strongly recommend VOCAL to lots of my friends and extended family starting on the difficult carers journey where for many of us the roles reverse and we take care our loved ones health and financial care which can be so daunting and scary at times. Sometimes just sharing your own difficult journey and what you learned can make such a difference to others.
Working with VOCAL gave me as Chairperson for our Carers Network a great introduction to so many amazing Caring Organisations, such as working alongside Carers Scotland we applied and gained all three levels of Carers Positive Accreditation and the opportunity to go to Westminster and talk to MPs during Cares Week to talk them through the application process.
As I was looking to take very early retirement in 2019 and look after our last parent I had got in contact with Hayley at VOCAL as she was my contact from the Carers Network to see if there were any opportunities to volunteer with VOCAL and I’m delighted to say I have just started to support this amazing charity and repay them for really supporting me in my darkest times.
It’s great to use my experiences as a working carer in a large organisation, being the Chairperson of our Carers Network and use my skillsets and experience to provide a different way of looking at the bigger picture but at the heart of it making a difference having the same shared passion to support carers. For me being a volunteer at VOCAL means I truly have come full circle!”