Comments, reflections and stories from our volunteers...
When I first joined off the record 7 years ago, I was impressed by the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that greeted me as a new volunteer. The training was fun but efficiently delivered and it was clear that the client's wellbeing was paramount. After 7 months as a support worker and having satisfied the relevant criteria, I began my role as a volunteer using counselling skills.
As we never know who is going to come through the door or what issues they may have, I was a little anxious about meeting my first client. Fortunately my anxiety was shortlived and all was well. Sometimes in the early days I would emerge from a heavy session feeling emotionally drained but was always well supported by my colleagues. Like most things it gets easier with experience and I am proud of the results of my work. I am even more proud of my clients who have worked hard to complete their often painful journeys.
It would be impossible for me to say how many sad stories have had happy endings but I have seen a good few; multiply that by the number of volunteers at O.T.R. and you begin to see what an effective service it really is. I would like to thank O.T.R. on behalf of all my clients and for myself, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to share in the hopes and dreams of such special people. Long may it continue!
If I had not joined OTR I would never have thought of going to university to do a Diploma in Youth and Community Work. I have gained lots of experience whilst being a Support Worker and become a more confidential person when dealing with young people.
I have worked as an unpaid volunteer for Off the Record for six years. I know I have made a difference to the lives of young people just by being there answering the phone to youngsters in crisis.
I think adults would be shocked to learn what young people go through. I have listened to young people dealing with experiences many adults never have in their life times. I think today it is a much tougher world for young people than the one I grew up in. I see Off the Record as quietly (unnoticed) investing in the local community and the vital training I have received has given me the confidence to be able to make a contribution.
Having worked for Off the Record for over six years in a voluntary capacity as a support worker and a Counsellor; I feel privileged to have helped a large number of young people through periods of difficulty. Some work through their issues in a few sessions, some need a year or two; either way, it is at their pace within their boundaries.
The range of issues brought to the service are as diverse as people themselves. These are explored in a safe, confidential environment and it is with pride that I witness them go from strength to strength as they face their issues and dissect the ones they need to and discard or move on from the rest. It is wonderful to see their personal growth, self belief and more positive thinking.
I know Off the Record makes a difference to so many people including ourselves. I feel supported and the training is second to none. It helped me to gain my Diploma in Counselling and my own personal growth has been amazing; I just wish I could have started this part of my journey earlier in my life.
A very happy volunteer
I first came to off the record when I was 20 having just moved into the county. I was in quite a vulnerable state at the time but always remember how safe and calming the visits I had to my counsellor were at the time. Four years later I returned as a volunteer, very nervous but very willing, wanting to give something back. That was about twelve years ago, but still I have had so much in return during that time in terms of confidence and self belief and opportunities. I have volunteered as a support worker then as a counsellor, Iâve gained skills in supervision and in training others over time.
Iâve met some special people in that time who are great friends so it has also helped me socially. The young people I have met over the years have been and continue to be an inspiration that fuels my passion for this very special service. Let us not forget they are the future and for that reason alone deserve the support that Off The Record gives so well.
I was 22 when I joined OTR after hearing about it from the local services. As a partially sighted person, I found it hard to find a volunteer role that would support me. OTR has given me this wonderful opportunity. Since I joined, my interest in counselling has grown and I have gone on to college and completed level 1