Volunteers’ Week 2023
2023 marks the 39th year of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), and Pain Concern joins thousands of charities and voluntary organisations in recognising the contribution volunteers make across the UK.
Celebrate and Inspire
With this year’s theme of ‘Celebrate and Inspire’ we hope to encourage people to be the change that we want to see and get involved in volunteering in whatever way works for them.
The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised by many, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering, so taking the time during Volunteers’ Week to celebrate their efforts and all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector and society as a whole has never been more important.
Pain Concern’s celebrations
This Volunteers’ Week Pain Concern will be celebrating our 50+ volunteers by holding volunteer social meets online and in person, sharing volunteers’ stories and attending a community event.
‘We are so very fortunate to have the support of our volunteers, many of whom have been with us for a number of years. Thanks to each and everyone of them, over 90,000 people each year with chronic pain have benefited from our resources, including leaflets, podcasts, transcripts, magazines, social media posts and website analytics. Not to mention our Helpline volunteers, who provide emotional support and a listening ear to all our Helpline service users, who very much value this service. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! You really are amazing!’
Sam Mason, People, Project & Operations Manager.
The Volunteer Experience
This Volunteers’ Week we’ve asked for a few of them to tell us about how they find volunteering at the charity:
Being a Volunteer Listener & Reader Panel Member
I help Pain Concern continue to produce high-quality content of all kinds both for people living with pain, their carers, and the health professionals involved in treatment and pain management. I also contribute to both the Flippin’ Pain community outreach campaign, and the Live Well With Pain training programme. All three allow me to help continue the conversation about pain management, communicating directly with both patients and clinicians about what my own experience of chronic pain means and what I’ve learnt.
The benefits, in terms of the importance of being able to talk and learn about pain and pain self-management, are huge. I get great satisfaction knowing that some small part of what I do might help someone, somewhere, as well as contribute to the wider discussion. And I benefit personally from keeping abreast of new developments and encountering new ideas and approaches. I’d recommend it to anybody. ’
Tim A, Listener & Reader Panel Member
Transcribing for good
‘I am a volunteer transcriber with Pain Concern. I have been in this role for about two and half years now. I decided to apply to be a volunteer with Pain Concern due to my own experience with managing pain, and I have an interest in transcribing and so I thought I could learn how to transcribe under the guidance of other transcribers and contribute something positive to a great charity.
I have very much enjoyed my time volunteering and learnt new skills along the way, and worked with some warm and kind people, so I would certainly recommend volunteering without any hesitation.’
The experience of a Helpline Volunteer
‘I started training in 2022 after feeling unfulfilled in my paid employment. I had a 21 year career as a registered nurse and left due to health reasons but always missed the interaction with different people and the feeling of satisfaction when I’d been able to make a difference to someone.
Later I volunteered for another charity, teaching nursing and medical students about my own experience of persistent pain. I found this so rewarding but I felt like I wanted to make a direct impact on people suffering with chronic pain.
The thing I enjoy most about volunteering at Pain Concern is being there for callers who are often desperate for someone to listen and many times it’s the first time they’ve felt heard and understood. Personally I have contacted Pain Concern in the past and found it to be an amazing source of support.
I found that the training I received has benefitted me enormously in terms of learning lots of new skills, in particular IT which I’m still getting to grips with! But mostly it has given me so much confidence in being able to deal with whatever comes my way.
I would 100% recommend volunteering to anyone who has a spare few hours to give. I’d say just think about what your interests are and go for it. There are so many opportunities and you will be so appreciated. You’ll also be supported throughout your volunteer journey and you’ll meet lots of really nice people too!’
Fiona B, Helpline Volunteer
Volunteering at an event
‘Having the chance to volunteer at the British Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was such a fruitful experience for me. Surrounded by thought-leaders paving the way for new therapies and techniques for pain management, and being able to directly hear them talk and interact with them about their research was an eye-opening, thought-provoking, and positive experience. I knew our podcast was delivering great things to our various audiences but witnessing the inception point of that, at somewhere as exciting as the British Pain Society ASM, was truly inspiring. I learned so much working alongside the amazing Broadcast Team and the members of Pain Concern who pulled together and engaged so many great contributors to make it happen.’
Amy J, Broadcast Assistant
A Research Assistant’s view
‘My name is Katie, I’m 24 years old and I am a Research Assistant and Helpline Volunteer for Pain Concern. I have been volunteering with Pain Concern for a year and 4 months and decided to start volunteering after completing my Master’s dissertation on pain management amongst people with Endometriosis. This research really helped me to understand the difficulties people in pain face when trying to get support with their pain management and I wanted to be able to help in any way I could.
I have really enjoyed my time volunteering and being able to provide people with access to different types of support that they may not have tried before and being part of a range of projects supporting people on waiting lists has made me see that I can really help to make a difference.
My volunteering has also given me the opportunity to improve my communication skills and gain valuable experience working directly with service users which has been really beneficial when looking for jobs. The support I have received from Pain Concern throughout my time has been amazing, there is always someone to ask if you are unsure of anything, if you ever need someone to talk to and they help me in any way they can towards my career aspirations.
I would highly recommend volunteering to everyone, it has been a great way to help others while improving my own skills and abilities and even if it is only a small amount of time that you can give, it will make a difference to so many people.’
Katie, Research Assistant and Helpline Volunteer