What does your job entail?
I currently have 3 roles at SWAN- so blessed! I am the Befriending Service Coordinator and my role is to match volunteers with those who want a befriender. My other roles are as a counsellor for women and for young people – I really thrive in helping others and my passion for this is fulfilled working at SWAN.
What do you do in a day?
These days I spend most of my time on calls with service users and volunteers. If I am not counselling, I am completing evaluations and planning next steps for our ladies.
What services can women access as well as SWAN?
From a befriending perspective – we have Age UK, Community Connectors through Sefton CVS and another organisation I am just looking into calling Imagine Independence – though I’m unsure if they will be covering our Sefton area just yet! The other key women’s service in our area is Venus Centre.
What does the training of volunteers involve?
It involves setting boundaries, knowing our limits as individuals within the role and tapping into some skills that we all already have within us that enables us to support others effectively.
What is the best thing about your job?
Working with and helping others. This is my passion in life. I love the interaction and learn so much from conversing with others, every day is a school day. I feel a little sad that I may never get to meet our volunteers and service users in the flesh due to the current climate. I know how blessed and wonderful it is that I am getting this opportunity to work with them – and that we have the means to do so through technology. I am extremely grateful.
In what ways does SWAN benefit women?
SWAN offers women a safe space. Somewhere they can be around like- minded women, whether that be in the groups that we offer, befrienders or our counsellors. For me, when I walk into SWAN there is something in the air that makes your shoulders drop, an air of calm. My hope is that all our ladies feel this too.
In what ways do you think SWAN benefits the women who you work with?
Through completing evaluations recently, I believe the Befriending Service offers women space to be themselves, without judgement. For someone to share things with, whether that is their day or their favourite TV programme they have been watching. Some of our ladies are isolated or even if not, feel that nobody listens to them. Some ladies have increased their confidence which has enabled them to get out and about, start new hobbies and maintain the befriending relationship.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I love to be out in nature, whether that is wild swimming or out walking. I love to exercise as it is really good for my mental health. I have a high value in food- I love cooking meals and eating cakes. I am spiritual too, and very much into my own personal development, so enjoy reading and watching lectures and listening to podcasts.