For Volunteers’ Week 2020, it gives us great pleasure to highlight volunteers who work to keep our community safe, such as the Special Constables. This is Vicki’s volunteering story:
I joined the Special Constabulary because I enjoy helping others and, working as a pre-school teacher, I had some additional time on my hands. I couldn’t think of a better way of helping my whole community than preventing crime, assisting in providing justice to criminals, giving support and advice to members of the public to help safeguard themselves, and aiding those that have been through their worst times and supporting them through it.
Within the role I have enhanced my communication skills and the ability to read others (probably the most important skill that an officer has) and become more empathetic and patient with others. My aspirations also changed. I decided that as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a Special Constable and the variation that this gave me, I would complement my Specials role by joining the Contact Management Centre. This has only enhanced my knowledge and experience, and I am able to provide different view points within both roles.
The current crisis has only meant that I am even busier than I was before. As a Special this is exactly what I want in a shift, going from incident to incident, providing guidance, engaging with the public and encouraging them to follow the guidance, as well as dealing with any crimes that have been reported.
For me, the most rewarding part of what I do is knowing that I have made a difference. Knowing that I have helped someone in a bad time in their life is what I do the job for. It may be helping someone that has been a victim of crime, a person going through a crisis or even a colleague that has a large workload and needs the reprieve so that they can get their work done.
I would encourage others to volunteer as it is a way of using personal experiences to enhance the role that you are doing, bringing unique qualities to your role and opening up opportunities that you would not ordinarily have.”
Well said! One of Vicki’s fellow Special Constables added:
“I trained as a Special Constable about 18 Months ago, as I found my day job lacked positive action towards the community. I have developed my skills in communication, decision making under pressure and creatively coming up with solutions I would never have encountered in my ‘normal’ life. I no longer feel stressed about the day to day of my job and have the confidence to make decisions and take ownership of issues at work.
My day job has allowed me to take time off to volunteer, allowing me to go in on a more regular basis. The job is very different during the current crisis it has allowed us to take more proactive actions. I feel the wider community recognise and support us during this time; we have had a lot of positive engagement on patrol which is a great feeling. The most rewarding part is making an impact on someone’s life; we meet them on what is one of the worst days of their life and get to support them and help resolve their issues.
I recommend volunteering because it gives you a chance to see a whole world you would never see in your day to day life. I have been able to positively impact more people in the past 18 months then I have before.”
Huge thanks to Vicki and her teammates for their wonderful work, and for sharing their experiences with us for Volunteers’ Week. If you would like to learn more about volunteering, please visit: www.gva.org.uk/individuals/volunteering/go-volunteer/ However, please be aware that many organisations are having to pause volunteer recruitment in the present circumstances.