Helping hands is a charity organisation with 12 years experiences of supporting families across the boroughs, they understand that many parents need help, friendship and support when their children are young. They also work very closely with other community groups, statutory services and Children’s Centres to ensure they reach as much of the community as they can.
They train volunteers to provide practical and emotional support to families in their own homes for approximately 3-4 hours each week. They also support mothers and families struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems. Without the support of volunteers that come from different back grounds within the local community and are normally but not necessarily parent themselves, it will be difficult for the charity to provide the services within the communities.
Volunteers receive both set of initial training and ongoing upskilling while volunteering for the organisation as required. They are carefully matched with the family they support, after going through the recruitment process that includes application form application, attending interviews, references taken, induction training and DBS checks. The volunteers continue to receive on-going support from the Charity throughout their contact with families.
After my successful application and interviews with Helping Hands Charity organisation, I started my induction training once a week over five weeks period.
My observation was conducted during the morning session of one of my training on March 16th 2018 at 10am which last over a period of two hours. The training was in one of the small room within main building of a nursery school. The training was delivered by two trainers Joan and Jean with the support of Fatimata the manager from Helping Hands for twelve volunteers including myself.
On entering the training room, the tables and chair were arranged in a U shaped facing the front of the room where the two flip boards were and seats for the trainers and at the rear of the training room refreshments were beautifully display on a table, also provided was facilities for tea and coffee.
As volunteer enters the room Jean one of the trainers welcome them in and ask if they do care for refreshments and make themselves comfortable on any of the seats still available. At exactly 10am in the room for the training were 9 females and a male for the training. Joan called everyone attention to start the day, she went ahead to introduce jean, Fatima and herself as the facilitators, went through the domestics and the fire and bomb alert procedure with us and finally she ‘any alarm today will be for real and not a test as one was not planned for the day’. She also talked about ground rules to include, confidentiality, respect, not judgemental and that we could stop the trainer at any time for clarification or question.
She wanted us to know each other and said that individual volunteer should tell us their name, back ground and why we choose to volunteer. This was done round the table from right hand side of the trainer. 1st lady said ‘Janet, part time teaching assistant and wanted to give something back to the community’ next was Chantel a 2nd year student at Middlesex university and doing a placement was part of completing her degree’ next was Indira a full
time house wife for over 20 years now looking into returning to paid employment working with children’, next was Jacob the only male in attendance ‘2nd year student studying to be a social worker at South Bank university and working part time at the university at the student centre. Next was my turn to introduce myself as Yetunde 2nd year student studying Psychosocial and this was also to be able to complete my degree with intention of continuing to volunteer as I see it as a way of contributing to the society back. Next to my right is Barbara from North London working with another charity organisation that helps children from war zones and now looking to work with children and families, next is Oluwaremilekun ‘as she will like to be called Olu currently looking for work now that her daughter has now started full time education and her long time goal is to work with children and family that are struggling has she been through similar situation’. Next is Liz ‘Studying NVQ level 3 in social care and looking to have a paid job in this area’ Next is Joyce ‘not sure what she wants to do, however love helping and supporting families, so I was introduce to volunteer by a friend’
Then Jean thank us all for sharing the information with us and given us a brief overview for the day, while Joan handed hand-outs on Domestic abuse, case studies and other information relevant to the training. Jean continue to ask if all volunteers where okay the planned schedule for the day and that they the trainers are happy to be flexible to accommodate anyone. She then asked if anyone ‘can define domestic abuse or what they understand by it’. Four volunteers raised their hands to answer the question, Jean pick on Olu to answer first and she define it as ‘someone having power and control over others’, Jacob said ‘it is a criminal offence and it takes different form not only physical but emotional’. Liz further support Jacob that it could be inform of physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, etc. Janet agreed with everyone’s comments pointing out that ‘if no intervention or the abused speaks out, the abuser gains more confidence and power to continue with the act’. Then Joyce ask a question ‘if the abuser is powerless or do not have the courage to speak out what happens, she buttress her point by given example of a husband verbally, emotionally, psychologically and isolating his wife from the community ‘how does she get help?’.
Jean gave more time for the discussion and brought us back to the training by given the definition of domestic violence, legislation, various example and issues relating to it. She then ask us to now work in groups of 3, group A, B AND C given us a case study each to discuss under 3 headings what the abuse is, what to do and where to get help
Group A (Janet, Chantel and Indira) B (Mose, Jacob and Barbara) C (Olu, Liz and Joyce)
Group B Case Study
Denise is 35. She lives with her partner Marlon who is 40 and their four-years-old twins. Marlon constantly put Denise down about how she looks and behaves. He gets annoyed when she goes out – he once hid all her shoes to force her to stay in the house for three days. He questions her about her friends, reads her mail and text messages and listens to her phone calls. Denise comfort eats when you are visiting, Marlon criticises her for putting on weight. This kind of domestic abuse is emotional abuse.
I and barbara which I paired with decided that in reference to the case study their different kind of abuse in the scenario, Marlon who is in
this case, as a befriender volunteer we need to call the office and tell them to deal with it. And also, we can ask her what she really want. The reason is they are both in the relationship.
We are not meant to advise them or tell them what to do, only what we are there for is to support them, what they want and be-friendly to them.
In this case, I observed that people feel so bad, and there are so much contribute to the scenario. Some of the volunteer give some example about someone she known and going through the same issue in her marriage. One of our coordinator mentioned if anyone is supporting someone who is experiencing domestic abuse, we should be listening to hear what they what to say. Non-judgemental support to look at the option, building up confidence to make choices.
Let the victim know that you believe what they are saying. You are concerned about them and the children- they have a right to be safe. They are not to be blamed. They don’t need to feel a shame. Let them understand that domestic abuse is not family matter, but it is against the law.