Could you offer emotional support to families with premature or sick babies?
The Bliss helpline is a UK-wide confidential telephone service that offers a listening ear, emotional support and information to families whose baby is in, or has been in, neonatal care. Volunteers are needed for this service to support parents in decision-making for their babies, including providing information, facilitating peer support and signposting.
In addition to providing telephone support, volunteers provide support via email. Personal experience of having a baby in neonatal care is helpful but not essential for the role.
Who can be a Bliss helpline volunteer?
Bliss helpline volunteers require a special combination of skills, qualities and experience including listening skills, and the ability to offer non-judgemental emotional support and information. Volunteers need to ensure they have a quiet space to work, and will not be interrupted for the duration of their shift. Basic computer skills are necessary for this role.
Qualities, experience and skills
Understanding and/or experience of what it means to have a child that requires neonatal care
Patience, empathy and a willingness to listen
Basic keyboard and computer skills
Willingness to support people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Completion of a Bliss Learning Programme, including self-guided learning and the attendance of two workshops. Participation in other training is strongly encouraged
Willing to commit to a minimum of two hours per week, ideally for a period of one year
Commitment to following Bliss guidelines and policies
Commitment to providing an empathetic and non-judgemental listening service, as well as practical support to callers, in line with Bliss guidance
Performing any administrative tasks connected with the taking of calls before the end of the shift, including data collection
Commitment to confidentiality and data protection guidelines.
In addition to these criteria for applicants, we also strongly advise that people who have had a recent personal experience of a baby in neonatal care wait for around a year before undertaking direct volunteering with parents and families. Callers can often be very worried and upset about their situation, so we want to ensure that our volunteers feel emotionally ready to provide this support.
How much time is required?
We ask for a minimum of two hours once a week, and a short time after each session to debrief.
The Bliss helpline is open between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday and between 7pm and 9pm Monday to Wednesday evenings. We are recruiting for applicants who are available during the daytime, between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
What support will I receive?
Volunteers will be allocated shifts and will work from home, as the helpline is transferred to the volunteer’s home or mobile phone. Volunteers will also need a home computer as they will need to log on to a call handling site. A member of the Information and Support Team will be contactable at all times during the volunteer’s session to offer support and advice. A debriefing session after each shift is available and strongly encouraged.
Due to the fact that some helpline shifts may not be continually busy, you will also have the opportunity to support parents via email.
Bliss values its volunteers and will make every effort to help develop their skills on the helpline and in other ways where appropriate
Bliss offers volunteers yearly reviews, development and opportunities for feedback
Bliss reimburses reasonable expenses for all volunteers
Bliss reserves the right to remove any volunteer from working on the helpline if, in the opinion of Bliss, this is in the best interest of either the service users, fellow volunteers or the volunteer personally.
Next training days
National training days will be taking place in London on 12 and 13 July 2016.
If you meet the above criteria and would like to get involved in this role, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the volunteer application here and the diversity monitoring form here.