Volunteering at Headway
Headway attended the Portsmouth University Volunteering Fair on Thursday 23rd October.
Service Manager, Deborah Robinson is busy recruiting volunteers to help support people recovering from brain injury. Potential volunteers could experiment with different equipment to understand what its like to live with brain injury.
One of last year's recruits, Natalie Muchatuta explains what its like to be a volunteer at Headway.
I initially volunteered at Headway as part of the University of Portsmouth placement programme as I am currently a final year Forensic Psychology student. I chose to complete my placement with Headway as I wanted to experience a different field of psychology to the forensics that I am used to. The application process was fairly straightforward and I was promptly contacted to attend an informal interview before being offered a volunteer role. Headway was very understanding of my situation as a student and was very flexible on how many hours and what days I would volunteer. This was fantastic as the other organisations that I had looked into often expected you to volunteer a minimum amount of 10 hours a week which would have set me back with uni work and attending lectures.
After attending the interview I started the following week by being introduced to the service users in the sessions I would be helping out with. I found the staff to be incredibly friendly and welcoming as part of the team, which helped me to quickly fit in. The service users were also very welcoming and very open to sharing about their brain injuries, which helped me to clearly understand the extent a brain injury can change an individual’s life and also the difficulties service users face on a day to day basis.
My role is mainly to aid support workers and coordinators to facilitate social inclusion sessions and also the cognitive rehabilitation sessions. I do this by encouraging service users to engage in group discussions and also by working with them on a one to one basis to work on goals and outcomes. Headway has allowed me to have more hands on experience with interventions, rehabilitation, monitoring goals and one to one work which allows me to bring new ideas and skills to the table. This has given me a massive confidence boost in my capabilities and has also allowed me to apply theoretical aspects learnt in lectures into a practical sense.
Headway as a service, it’s staff and also service users have taught me many things that I would never have learnt in my course, allowing me to gain invaluable experience and most importantly the warm fuzzy of giving back to the community and helping others.
Alexandra Trew & Hester Philips (volunteers)
For myself and Hester, working as a volunteer at Headway has been greatly rewarding and given us excellence experience into the field of Psychology (degrees in which we are both studying). One of the most valuable things that Headway has taught us is to be more humble as we work with some people that could be suffering with any number of conditions, whether they be emotional, cognitive or physical. Headway also helped us to learn how to adapt ourselves to help different people with different conditions or issues and from this, we have found that the role makes us more patient and helped us to gain more understanding in the field of head injuries in general. We have met some amazing people here at Headway, with equally amazing stories; whether they be fellow staff members or our service users and we would thoroughly recommend not only somebody wanting to volunteer here, but somebody joining Headway as a full-time service user as we have seen how the organisation helps to cognitively rehabilitate people effectively as well as giving the service users a friendly place and supportive environment that they can feel comfortable in with people that are going through similar things as they are.
Interested in becoming a Headway volunteer? We're looking for people who can commit to supporting group sessions for up to 2 hours per session, once a week. Why not give us a call to discuss volunteer options?
Tel: 023 92 664 972
Download a VOLUNTEER ROLE here.