Josie Bristow-Booker’s volunteering story for #VolunteerWeek

This week is #VolunteerWeek, a chance to celebrate and thank all our volunteers across Derby and Derbyshire whose commitment and compassion make a significant difference to our communities.

Josie shares her experience being a volunteer telephone befriender:

Hi, I’m Josie, I volunteer as a Telephone Befriender for Careline Calling, a registered charity offering free, regular telephone support to people in Derbyshire Dales. Our team of over 50 volunteers together make calls 7 days a week including bank holidays to provide support and a friendly conversation to people who may be isolated, elderly, less able to get out or just requiring a friend to talk to.

Why did you choose to volunteer?

We can support each other as humans is a strong value I have.

I have contributed to befriending calls every Friday late afternoon since 2020.

When I began volunteering at Careline, I quickly realised the significance, as I can often be the only person somebody has spoken to that day.

Anybody can volunteer here and sometimes we feel we don’t have ‘enough time’ to volunteer. All you need is yourself, a phone (quite often nowadays we have ‘unlimited minutes’), and a wi-fi connection.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

I enjoy speaking to people and active listening is key. I love volunteering for Careline Calling because of the flexibility and community, I feel supported by the two fabulous staff members, trustees and team of volunteers. We are always recruiting new volunteers and it really is possible if you have as little as an hour to spare each week.

What is a highlight of your experience volunteering?

Some highlights of my experience volunteering are receiving an award in a celebration evening followed by a fish and chips supper organised for us to give back to volunteers. Also, when I first became a dog parent, I had so many lovely conversations about dogs with one service user! The tips and tricks they were able to share with me from their own experiences is something I will always remember and brings me huge joy!

Thank you to Josie for sharing her volunteering story with us. 

Find out more about the work Careline Calling does by visiting their website.

Josie works in Mental Health Together, the commissioned mental health engagement service for Derby and Derbyshire. MHT’s focus is supporting voices of lived and living experience, creating opportunities for service receivers and their carers to have a greater say in the services they and others use, making a positive difference. Their Experts by Experience are vital in the design and delivery of mental health services.

Find out more about the work of Mental Health Together by visiting their website.