Lyn Anderson from Lifeline is calling out for much needed volunteers to man phones.
Lyn Anderson from Lifeline is calling out for much needed volunteers to man phones. Rachel Vercoe

In need of a lifeline Volunteers heartfelt call out

RECEIVING around 100 calls a day, Lifeline Coffs Harbour is desperately seeking volunteers to join their friendly and supportive team.

Lifeline is a national charity providing Australians experiencing personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

The Coffs Harbour office has two phones but not enough volunteers to cover the 6am to midnight shifts they are operational on.

"I really urge people to consider volunteering, it's a great way to support the community" Lyn Anderson, trainer, supervisor and volunteer at Lifeline, said.

"You do feel like you're making a difference, not with every call but with lots of calls."

Lyn said they receive calls about everything and are on a mission to reduce the rate of suicide.

"Crisis to you might be different to me.

"We believe we can reduce the rate if we can help people in the community before they get to that stage and that's what lifeline is all about."

The job might sound intimidating but before being thrown onto the phones, you'll learn listening and communication skills through a training program.

"We have an accredited training program which can help people in their everyday life. They will get skills to listen to others better, it raises your own self awareness and helps communication with family and friends.

"We've got a great team and there's a lot of support.

"When you're on the phones, you've always got the support of a supervisor so you're alone."

The three months of training involves a Thursday or Saturday evening each week for two months followed by one shift a week over four weeks with a training member present.

Lyn describes the job as rewarding which is why she's been volunteering on the phones for around 16 years.

"You hear a persons voice lift on the phone, or you empower them to come up with ideas of their own just by believing in them. That's what it's all about."

The Coffs Harbour office takes calls from all over Australia with the chances of talking to someone you know in the community slim.

"I've been on the phones for around 16 years as a volunteer and rarely receive a call from Coffs Harbour. That's the beauty of being a national service.

No previous experience is needed to become a volunteer, all you need is a willingness to listen and care about other people.

Lifeline Coffs Harbour is hosting an information session on Thursday, February 13 at 5.30pm in the office on West High St.

Training sessions will commence in early March.

 

For more information, call 6651 4093.


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