“Volunteering for TASC has been a great experience. Not only because we have raised awareness in my area, but because I have helped signpost many of my colleagues to get the help they need.”
Jenny, Paramedic, Yorkshire
“My name is Jenny and I am a Paramedic. I’ve been in service 19 years and I found out about TASC after my colleague researched to see if ambulance staff had any rehabilitation centres. I asked around at work and no one knew about TASC, not even those who had been redeployed or retired due to ill health. I simply could not believe that we did not know about the charity! I was angry, so many people I knew could have benefitted from their services and this made me want to shout about it from the rooftops. I started to tell everyone I knew about the charity.
I rang TASC and spoke to several members of the team to explain that in Yorkshire we simply did not know they existed. The team was amazing and sent me lots of leaflets, information sheets and merchandise to pass around the stations to promote the services they offer; they also asked if I would like to become a Peer Support Volunteer to help support my colleagues when they were struggling. At the time, it was a welcome distraction from a traumatic year at work, my worst in my career to be exact. So, I threw myself into the role and helped raise awareness within my area. Soon, many of my colleagues were willing to volunteer too. The response in Yorkshire was phenomenal. Many staff members were accessing services from TASC, especially their mental health services, and the charity’s enquiry rate doubled because of our big mouths!
It then became clear that we should raise some funds to help. Myself and my colleague decided to organise a charity rugby league match against the local fire service. It was a huge success and raised over £2,400 for TASC, and there are plans to host a similar event every year. I have also been raising small amounts of money from attending fire station open days with buckets for TASC and I’ve encouraged members of staff to do the same. During the lockdown, myself and other TASC volunteers, helped organise food hampers for staff who were struggling and we are currently campaigning for our staff to donate £1 a month to TASC.
My most enjoyable part of volunteering has been the peer support workshop that TASC provided for us. It was the best mental health training I have had in my career and the TASC team was incredibly supportive and kind. It gave us an interesting insight into our own mental health and showed us how to recognise when our colleagues are struggling and what we can do to help. It was an eye opener to what is actually available to those struggling not only with physical and mental health but also financial difficulties. They really looked after us that day.
Volunteering for TASC has been a great experience. Not only because we have raised awareness in my area, but because I have helped signpost many of my colleagues to get the help they need. I have seen people suffering from PTSD symptoms and directed them for counselling, and I have also signposted colleagues for rehab after having major operations. Unfortunately, in Yorkshire we have had colleagues with life-limiting illnesses that have required additional help financially and emotionally, and when a staff member died, TASC were there to support us and sent up their Wellbeing Support Team and a counsellor to help, which was incredible.
TASC is there for all of us and the families that have been involved with TASC have said that they have been an invaluable support. Speaking to my colleagues now, they all know about TASC. This is a great achievement.
To have an impartial service that genuinely cares for its beneficiaries is invaluable. We have never had as much support as we do right now. TASC cares about us, they really do. It’s quite humbling to be a peer support volunteer and I would recommend it to any of my colleagues.
If you are frontline you will appreciate that sometimes a distraction is good for the soul, I’ve found this in my volunteering for TASC. I will continue to do so as I believe in the charity and the work they do for us. The ultimate goal is for us to have our own rehabilitation centre and if every member of staff contributes as the firefighters do, this would be achievable and TASC will go from strength to strength.
Thank you to the wonderful staff at TASC, may this charity be forever in our hearts, especially after these tough times.”
Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Whether it’s raising awareness in their workplace, encouraging others to get involved, supporting staff at events or speaking at conferences, all our TASC volunteers make a big difference to the people in the UK’s ambulance community. If you’d like to join Jenny and become one of our volunteering superstars, you can learn more and register to become a volunteer at: www.theasc.org.uk/volunteer.
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