Founded in 1962, we are the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. Our goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.
Parent to Parent Volunteer - Homebased
Why we need you
“It was a relief to speak to someone who just got it. Speaking to A has just I guess made my heart feel less heavy"
Parent to Parent is the NAS’ award winning UK wide confidential emotional support helpline which is provided over the phone by trained volunteers, who are all parents of autistic children and adults. The volunteers all have personal experience of autism and the impact it has on their own families. They are there to give parents and carers the opportunity to talk through any issues, feelings or problems they’re experiencing. They can suggest helpful strategies, signpost them to other sources of information and support, or just provide a non-judgmental listening ear.
What you will be doing
- Calling parents and carers of autistic children and adults who have contacted the Parent to Parent Emotional Support Helpline
- Providing emotional support and a non-judgemental listening ear to other parents and carers
- Signposting parents, when appropriate, to information and advice services
- Sending an email to parent callers, if appropriate, following their P2P call. This email will include: signposting information, links to relevant information sheets, a feedback form link etc.
- Filling out a call sheet of basic information after every call, this information will then be passed promptly to the coordinator
- Some occasional travel to attend training and forums will be necessary, this is subject to travel restrictions and government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic
Skills qualities and experience needed
All volunteers must be a parent or primary carer of a child or adult with autism. Volunteers need to be:
- good communicators, as the role involves providing emotional support over the phone
- good listeners and understanding
- willing to learn
- able to remain calm in stressful situations
- able to respond sensitively to the emotional and practical content of the calls
- emotionally ready to undertake this work and support other parents
- self-motivated and able to work on their own initiative
- able to organise, prioritise and manage their own time
- reliable, consistent, dependable
When and where
All volunteering takes place from the volunteers own homes and provides support to parents and carers across the UK. It is hoped that volunteers will be able to offer 2 hours per week to Parent to Parent and will continue to volunteer for at least one year after initial training has been completed. Volunteers can choose when to make calls, either in the morning, afternoon or evening and can split their volunteering hours over a few days.
- Our training is currently made up of a training manual to complete at home and 4 online training sessions. In addition volunteers are also asked to attend twice yearly face to face forums (held in June and November) and update training events, when needed, this is subject to travel restrictions and government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic
We are hoping that the next forum will be held in June 2021 but this is to be confirmed.
Support and supervision:
There is ongoing and active support and feedback from the service Coordinator and other members of the Contact Centre team, when required.
All travel expenses to and from training and forums are refunded to volunteers by the NAS. The NAS will also pay for all Parent to Parent Service call costs.
What you could get out of it
As a volunteer for the Parent to Parent Service you will receive thorough training and be part of a UK wide team of parents and carers, who can share experience, support and learn from one another. Volunteering for the service can be very rewarding, one volunteer recently wrote “for anyone thinking they might be able to help families with children on the autism spectrum please contact the NAS, you’ll never look back! By giving a listening ear you can make a big difference to a family who might be going through their darkest days”.
We seek applications from anyone interested in the role, but particularly welcome applications from those on the autism spectrum