Call for volunteers

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Supporting the supporters .. Victim Support Southland service co-ordinator Diane Johnstone (left) talks with Gore volunteers Karyn Geerlings (centre) and Carol McDowell.

Victim Support Gore needs for new volunteers, local group committee vice-chairwoman Carol McDowell says.

Victim Support Gore had only eight volunteers, she said.

“We are finding it’s a strain at the moment because eight is not enough to make it a comfortable number for us,” Mrs McDowell said.

“We’d like at least six more,” she said.

“It would give us the help to help the victims and share the load.”

According to the organisation’s website, victimsupport.org.nz, volunteers provided support, information and practical assistance to people affected by crime or other trauma.

“This might be just hours after the incident, or in the days and weeks, sometimes months, later,” the site says.

Mrs McDowell said being a volunteer for Victim Support had its rewards.

“Seeing someone come to you traumatised and then meeting them again smiling is the biggest reward.”

Empathy, the ability to listen and communication were attributes needed by volunteers.

“Our aim and our goal is to help that person to empower them and help them take control of their life.”

New volunteers would be provided with training and Victim Support paid for mileage, meals and accommodation.

The training for 2018 would be held in Dunedin over two weekends.

“Then afterward you get buddied up with a volunteer – you’re not just thrown in the deep end.”

Victim Support volunteers were usually required to be available for 48 hours a month, in the form of eight six-hour on-call slots, but this was flexible, she said.

“The group we have got are really dedicated volunteers.

“We have a roster and you do the best hours that you can do.”

Times would be allotted to suit the schedule of the volunteer.

“It’s all about doing it to your own capability.”

Victim Support has supported a total of 34,671 people nationwide.

A volunteer for five years, Karyn Geerlings, said being a volunteer for Victim Support had helped her grow as a person.

“Seeing people get back on track is a real reward,” Mrs Geerlings said.

Mrs McDowell said the Victim Support golf fundraiser was a success.