Discussion on the breadth of different roles a person has got involved in over the years. They talk about the different opportunities, the importance of listening and being with people, particularly at difficult times or during times of crisis. The person enjoys volunteering and is prepared to devote lots of time to it. She likes to make a difference.  

Hello. Um, would you like to introduce yourself, right? Well, I'm Alison, and, um, I started Oh, I started volunteering. Well, I started volunteering quite a long time ago, actually. Back in, Hm

Now, I gotta think mid two thousands And it all started because I saw an advert in the local library to help with hospital radio, and I thought, Oh, that sounds fun. I hadn't got a clue what it was about, what you needed, what you needed to do. And I thought, Well, I can talk, So that must be a start

Anyway, Eventually, I went to be interviewed and got accepted. And that was a very scary time. My first time on radio having a mic and talking to people whom you couldn't see because it was radio

But you knew everybody was listening. And I hate the sound of my voice. So, um, uh, I did have somebody else with me who had already been quite experienced in doing hospital radio

And we were right at the top of a very, very old building in the local hospital, completely away from all the wards. So you you went down miles of corridor to actually get to the wards and the principle was, as its name implies, hospital radio. You You went on a designated ward, so we were told which ward we were able to go to

I knew. And I put this in inverted commas interviewed the patient. Now some were chatty, some were miserable

Some didn't want to talk to you. But you gave them a lot of leeway for the simple reason they were in hospital. Who wants to be bothered with somebody chattering away to you when you've had a major operation and you're feeling awful and you're saying, Oh, please, just let me go to sleep

But then you, you, you you basically talk to them. What records would they like to hear? Is there any dedications? You know, generalities. And then you totalled off back to the studio, which was very basic Later, later, much later we had our own designated Stu studio built, which was all soundproofed and up to the BBC standard

So it was from one extreme to another. Anyway, I stopped there for I think it was just over 12 years. And in doing so, I also got involved with, uh, talking newspapers, which for those who don't understand what it means

Talking newspapers is a charity that helps the visually uh, sorry, the hearing impaired. But it also has an extra added sideline that if you have something like Parkinson's or an, um, a disability that makes your hand shake or besides having, um, impairment of your vision, talking newspapers can help, because all you do is hit a button and you don't do anything else unless you want The volume turned up. So I used to do Mondays was hospital radio

Wednesdays was talking newspapers, and so I used to go to the local newspaper, get all their local stories, which was just printed out on a four sheets. It wasn't done in the paper format because we had it on a Wednesday as the paper came out on a Thursday, Um, and then I would edit the stories, um, put in stories that I thought so you always had hatches, matches and dispatches. That was the highlight

Um, and then you had everything from sport to, um, local, um, clubs that were doing things to general news to breaking news, whatever was in the in the lead stories, and then we had a team each week. We had a team of three readers, plus one technician. And the stories would be divided between the three readers

And then the technician would knit it all together. And it used to be very old fashioned because it was on tape to start with. So, um, it then went digital

And we had, um Oh, what do you call the things that you stick in? UB USB stick. Thank you. A USB stick

So we got quite sophisticated a after a while. Um, but the post office are brilliant, and they, as far as I know, still do it. They freely give the talking newspapers pouches with Yes

Yes. Oh, good. So you put the was the tape in

And, um, one side of the card had the, um members address and the other side of the card had the address to come back to us at talking newspapers. And I did that for roughly the same lengths of time. I didn't quite get to 15 years in either of them, but I did do over 10 for both

Wow. Wow. So what volunteer role do you do now? Well, I decided after so many years of doing that, I wanted something completely different

I wanted to be more involved with people. I've got an agricultural background, although my parents weren't directly farming. But, um, my relations on both sides were always farming

So I basically looked around for a farming charity, and after three goes, it took me three goes to, um, apply. But then I got involved with the local farming charity, so I then was doing the helpline. So answering the phone on a designated roter, I did case work, um, attended chosen events, but that was easy from my point of view and apologies, if it sounds big headed

But that's what I've always done right from leaving Agricultural College. I've always dealt with the public, so it didn't really phase me. And I like that because I find it's much better to have a face to face conversation because your voice, your body language, just the engagement between person to person is often more rewarding and has more impact than maybe on the phone when you have only your ears to rely on as to how you think that person might be

And that can be sometimes very difficult. Yeah, lack of cues, isn't it? Lack of facial cues and body and language and so on. Yes, and sometimes whether it's PC or not

And I know these days one has to be quite careful. But just to touch on an arm, a smile A you know, a gesture which says I do care. I do understand

I am here. Yeah, you can't do that. Always on a phone, though

And that's clearly one of the things that you really like about volunteering. It's meeting people, interacting with people and showing that you care. Yeah, Yeah

Oh, definitely. Yes. Because it's and the range of people as well

And let's face it, the agricultural industry per se have has a unique blend of no other industry has that type of people and the the breath as well, doesn't it? Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah, yes. You can have banter

You can have, uh, serious conversations. You can empathise sympathise, get into mild arguments. But at the end of the day, you can mostly part with as as friends

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's that's my experience too. Is there anything that you find challenging or difficult about being a volunteer? Some of the stories are here. Mm Mm

Some of them are really traumatic. Um, and this again is significant with regard to whether you're talking to talking to somebody on the phone or face to face. And if I can get a smile if I'm face to face and can get a smile out of somebody After listening to a traumatic story, I feel as if we've actually crossed a line and they can cope, they will cope, and they will be able to go away with a different perspective in their head

Yeah, that that's, um, and that, you know, shows the importance, doesn't it? Of talking and people interacting together. And And, you know, I guess that's one of the reasons why you volunteer as well as what you like about it. Well, yes

And satisfaction is the wrong word. Um, you feel as if you've put a person onto the right road at the end of the day. Yes

So he come on to the stand, and I basically listened to his story. We discussed what he could and might do, and at the end, he actually smiled, and he was in a stronger position to actually go and do something further and decide on his future. Yeah, yeah

So it's It's that Yeah. Feeling of making a difference, perhaps. Oh, definitely

I don't know what happened to him. Um, obviously, because he never became a case as such. I don't know what happened to him, but I do hope that he managed to find a way through

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you

So, what would you say to someone thinking about volunteering for the first time? Find something that you really like? Because if your enthusiasm and your passion is there, you will be able to understand and help those that come to the charity or the volunteer area that you've decided on. And obviously, you know, our passions and our knowledge. 10 generally go together, so you'll already have knowledge

And then you'll gain experience by expanding that knowledge. Yeah. Thank you

Thank you very much for sharing your insights today. We'll leave that there. Thank you


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