The main attribute for a Seniorline volunteer is to be a good listener. The help line does not give advice or provide solutions, but through empathic listening, we can support callers in a way they tell us is helpful. Volunteers do not take a caller’s details or phone them back, it is the caller always who initiates the contact.
We are looking for women and men aged 55+ who can give a commitment to be part of a three-hour help line rota once every three weeks. Volunteers in Dublin city centre can choose to work between 10am to 1pm, or 1pm to 4pm on a chosen day of the week. Donnybrook volunteers work from 4-7pm, and Leopardstown volunteers will work from 7-10pm. Each work place is safe and accessible.
Potential volunteers are invited to an Introductory Morning at which they will meet other volunteers, learn about Third Age & Seniorline, have an opportunity to ask questions and reflect on their role. Training lasts five days, from 10 am to 4pm each day, refreshments and lunch provided. Training takes place in Dublin city centre.
What our volunteers tell us
‘I wasn’t looking forward to retirement because my job was very important to me. I worried that I would miss a sense of purpose in my life and goals to aim for. I’m now a volunteer on Senior Help Line, and I volunteer for two other organisations as well. I still have something to get up for in the morning. I had to do a lot of listening in my job and I still listen on the help line. It feels comfortable and worthwhile’.
‘I’ve been a volunteer on the help line for many years. I didn’t realise before I started the trouble that some people have. I’ve had a very happy life with a good family. But others are not so fortunate. It can be heartbreaking to listen to some of them. Often that’s all I can do. But it seems to help and I’m glad I’m here to do it’.
‘I was nervous at the start, wondering if I could do it. But the training was great. They told us that the training would be the hardest part, that being on the help line would be easier, and they were right. But the training prepares you well for whatever you are going to hear, and you feel confident that you are going to be able to listen and to and to understand what the caller may be going through’.
‘I’ve changed a lot since I joined Senior Help Line. I applied because I thought it was about giving advice and solving problems. I’m very practical, and I felt I might be able to do that. But it’s really about listening and realising the value to callers to talk to us about their problems. I had to learn to hold back, I’m doing that much more now and learning a lot myself. Outside the help line, I find I’m listening better too!’
‘I was a bit lonely after I retired. I’m a single person, and being at work meant I was with people all the time. Now I’ve made new friends through Senior Help Line, the other volunteers are a great group. We met in training, we meet on duty, and we recently started a social group for outings and so on. I love being able to be on the help line, and I think I get back far more than I give’