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Training for US Community Care Volunteers

Over the last month or so, our volunteers have been inundated with a range of different options for training. It started with a co-ordinator supervision session that was held on 14th October, attended by people from 10 of our communities. This was an opportunity for co-ordinators to discuss difficult cases of their own and in other communities (obviously no names were shared to ensure confidentiality) under the expert eye of our trainer Shar Reichenstein and the Chair of our USCC Advisory Group, Stuart Bloom. One of the participants, Tina Freedman from Belmont said “It was a chance to explore real situations, learn strategies and explore new options we’d not previously thought of.”

This was followed by an all-day induction course for new volunteers held on 6th November. This course covers issues such as confidentiality, boundaries, empathy, as well as communication and listening skills. A volunteer from St John’s Wood commented that "it made me much more prepared for problems which might arise, many of which I had not contemplated.”

Next up came a 2-part course on visiting the sick at home and in hospital – exploring issues such as why we visit, when the visit is appropriate, how we know the visit is wanted, how to approach the difficulties surrounding terminal illness and the limits of what we are able to do. This session was attended by 14 hardy souls who came to our head office in the evening from 8-10pm to enhance their skills. Norman Rosenbaum from Cockfosters and North Southgate found the session “very helpful in helping participants to be aware of pitfalls in relationships between patients and visitors. It was an excellent course – you find out what you don’t know. The instructor was outstanding."

Finally we had a 2-part course for new Volunteer Co-ordinators. Attended by 7 people, these sessions included information on the role of the co-ordinator, frequently encountered challenges and how to handle them. As in previous courses, attendees found the role play particularly helpful.

Our USCC volunteers do a fantastic job supporting members of our community who may be experiencing difficulties, whether due to illness, bereavement or loneliness. The training programme is designed to ensure that the volunteers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to carry out their role to a high standard.

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