Our Volunteers

Who are our volunteers?

All our volunteers are from local communities. They understand what a person who is becoming a parent is going through and the thoughts and feelings they might have. They know from their own experience what it is like to have to deal with difficult issues, relationships or situations when you are expecting a baby or looking after children.

They understand the importance of confidentiality and building the right kind of relationship with the parents they support. They are able to listen carefully and find out what the person who is speaking to them really means. They respect the different communities that the parents they are supporting come from and the communities in the places where they will be working.

What our volunteer Peer Supporters do

Our Peer Supporters offer emotional support to expectant and new parents and parents with more than one child, who are feeling isolated, sad or worried or who have lost confidence because of difficult circumstances they experience. They lead support groups where parents can meet people who are in similar situations, take part in activities that help them to get to know one another and talk about experiences or issues.

They listen to and understand what parents have to say about what is happening in their lives and how they are feeling. They help parents to think about what is troubling them to feel more confident about making decisions for themselves and find their own solutions to the challenges they are facing.

They help them to think about and choose the services they want to use by explaining how they work and how they might be useful. They sometimes go with parents to appointments they have with different agencies or when they want to try out activities.

They keep what parents tell them confidential so parents can rely on them to respect their privacy. They win the trust of parents and help them overcome or cope with the difficulties life is giving them. They offer information without giving advice. They hold back their own opinions and they never criticise or judge parents. They listen carefully to what is happening to the parents they support and how they are feeling, but they do not get personally or emotionally involved.

They get to know people from other organisations so they can tell them about the project and encourage the parents who need support to come to us. They go to events and do outreach work to spread the word about our work.

Our Parent Peer Supporters are able to do all this because of the training programme they take part in and the group and individual supervision sessions they have while they are doing their voluntary work.

We provide crèche or other childcare and transport for our volunteers when they need it, so that they can take part in their training and voluntary work.

Two smiling women

The benefits for our Peer Supporters

Our Peer Supporters take part in an interesting training programme that includes supervised work experience. The training builds on the knowledge and skills they have already got from previous learning, work and life experience. The work is very rewarding because the peer support can make a real difference to the lives of people from their own community.

Becoming one of our Peer Supporters earns you a recognised qualification. It adds a lot to a CV and helps to strengthen applications to colleges or employers. In future there may also be opportunities for employment with Parents4Parents-NorthYorks.

The training programme is also a personal development experience and you will learn a lot about yourself and grow as a person as you take part in it.

As they take part in the part in the training programme our volunteers learn a lot about themselves as well as what peer support is all about. They share personal experiences with one another and build strong bonds with other team members. They help to review and develop the services we provide and are involved in helping to shape the work our charity does.

When they become peer supporters our volunteers have the satisfaction of seeing the parents they support gradually become more confident, feel better about themselves and able to make positive changes. As one peer supporter put it “Even if you just change one person’s life, that’s helping them, their child and the community”.

Our trained peer supporters earn the respect from staff from different agencies because of the skills they have and the important work they do. They meet people from other organisations at events, work with them on projects and help them to see things from the perspective of parents.

Some of our most experienced volunteers have become Trustees and have helped run our charity.

Several of our peer supporters have been able to use their experience to get places on further and higher education courses or find employment in the type of job they have always wanted.