Heather, who has spent the last 14 years working at the Childline Belfast base after she swapped a career working in corporate banking for a role that protects and supports children, says she loves the variety of her role.
“When I graduated from university, I worked in corporate banking and took a career break when I had my children,” explained Heather. “I had a long interest in studying counselling and having my boys inspired me to change job direction.
“Belfast Childline has such a great team spirit among the staff and volunteers. No two days are ever the same. I could be delivering online information sessions to students, taking part in Zoom volunteer interviews, organising marketing activities and speaking to my colleagues in other Childline bases about an online conference hosted by Dame Esther Rantzen, the Childline founder.”
In spite of the spread of coronavirus and the UK going into lockdown in March this year, the base has remained open and Heather and her team of volunteers have experienced a rise in young people calling the service about their mental health and wellbeing.
Heather explained: “The Childline service has remained available for children throughout the pandemic. Coronavirus presented a real challenge. Due to lockdown, many volunteers were unable to give shifts in the base, so measures were put in place across the service such as enhancing the Childline website to provide additional support for young people. We also put in social distancing measures and increased hygiene and cleaning standards in place to keep those who are able to come to the base safe.
“We have continued recruiting volunteers and have received many applications from people who are re-evaluating their lives due to change in circumstances and want to do something worthwhile such as volunteer.”
To find out more visit www.nspcc.org.uk/childlinevolunteer or email [email protected]