Jane is part of the GriefLine team and has volunteered supporting people on the phone line since September 2020. We met up with Jane to find out how GriefLine supports those struggling with grief, and what motivates her.
Q: Why did you become a GriefLine volunteer?
A: I’ve been through bereavement myself, losing my Mum and Dad a number of years ago. I wish there had been something like GriefLine when I was struggling with grief, to offer me support. When I heard about the helpline, I knew I wanted to help.
“I wanted to use my experience of grief to help other people, to do some good.”
Q: How does GriefLine make a difference?
A: I think talking about how you’re feeling can really help people. A lot of calls I take, people think they are going mad – and they just want reassurance around their feelings. I am really offering a listening ear.
By talking, and sharing their feelings, it can really help. And realising that their feelings are a normal part of grief.
Q: What is it like when someone calls GriefLine?
A: Sometimes callers don’t know what to say, and they might be upset. I just tell them to take their time, there is no rush and I just wait. Then they can tell me as little, or as much, about what’s happened. Other people say they are having a difficult time after losing their loved one, and they just need somebody to talk to.
Every call is different – some will last an hour, others just 10 minutes. People may be looking for other support, and I can signpost them to our Bereavement Café groups, and other local organisations.
“GriefLine volunteers are not qualified counsellors – and we aren’t there to tell people what to do. We are there to really talk about how you’re feeling – to listen, really listen. Sometimes it is easier to speak to me, as a person they don’t know, than it is to speak to their own friends or family.”
At the end of the call people often say they feel better just for speaking about it. Sometimes, that is all people need.
Q: What is it like to volunteer with GriefLine?
A: The training from St Clare has been brilliant, I feel really supported. Sometimes calls can be difficult, and there is always someone to check in to see how I am – so they don’t play on my mind.
“I volunteer from home, which really suits my family lifestyle. I do an afternoon session, from 1pm – 5pm, and have a laptop with an app which I use to take the calls. I’d love to volunteer more, but at the moment only have time for one session a week.”
Q: How does volunteering benefit you?
A: I find volunteering empowering. To be able to talk to people, listen, and hear their experiences – I feel like I’m helping people in a positive way. Even if it just one call – I know that is one person I have helped.
“They say volunteers are happy people, and it is actually true. It does make you feel good, happier and better about yourself, to do something to help someone else.”
You’re using your own time in a selfless way, and I think there’s not enough of it in the world!
If you would like to speak to someone about your loss, no matter how long ago, the number to call is 01279 945089.
To find out about volunteering with GriefLine, contact the team on 01279 773704.