I have been volunteering with Solace Women’s Aid for five months now and have found the experience to be enlightening and it has given me a renewed passion for helping women that need support and understanding. I have always had an interest in helping others and now have a dedicated platform in order to achieve that.
I started working with the Change and Challenge department as a volunteer IDVA within Solace who deal with low to medium risk cases at the front line. In that role I learned so much about how Solace operate, the support that is offered and about how inter agency cooperation is achieved. My supervisor offered me a lot of expert guidance and support and allowed me to experience a vast array of situations. Within this role I have had phone and face to face contact with clients, I have gone with them to court to support them in that setting, I have attended a MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference), sat in on Solicitors sessions with clients and attended the ARISE workshops which were fascinating as I got to learn a lot about Domestic Abuse, I got to listen to the service users and interact with them. I saw how valuable these workshops were for women who had experienced domestic abuse as they learnt a lot and also got to share their thoughts and feelings with other women who had been through similar things. I also attended a session of the Women’s Voices Group which was really good, I do enjoy being at the front line and engaging with the service users.
Throughout my volunteering experience, I have had the opportunity to take part in many volunteer training sessions. They have been invaluable and really good at informing me about many aspects of Domestic Abuse. I have learnt a lot from these sessions, it helps to reinforce the information I will need to go forward and become a professional within this field. I am hoping to hone the skills and have the experience necessary to gain employment and be able to help service users in my role as I feel that it is important to do something in your life that makes a difference. That way I can feel positive about any work that I do.
I was able to move from the Change and Challenge department to Enfield SASS (Solace Advocacy and Support Service). Here I have supported and worked in different areas with some extensive work on OASIS and working with the IRIS project which works with GP surgeries to offer women support who are experiencing domestic abuse. With the IRIS project I have been able to attend court with service users, shadow with risk assessments, upload case notes onto OASIS, I have also been able to experience making referrals to MARAC, IDVA’s and Social Services. I attended a session of IRIS training which is delivered to GP’s which was extremely insightful. I got to see first-hand the difficulties faced with trying to get the service utilized to its full potential. It was wonderful to see how skilled, efficient and cool headed my colleagues were at delivering the training in a pressurized environment. I also had an opportunity to attend a steering group for IRIS where I met with stakeholders for the service including the commissioners for the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group), the Domestic Violence Coordinator and the Clinical and Safeguarding lead for Enfield.
I am currently pursuing the Accredited Volunteer Award Training Programme which runs over three months. I have completed two sessions already which go much more in depth with the information offered. I am finding it interesting and challenging and I am sure it will be invaluable in terms of what I will be able to offer Solace and other women’s services in the future.
I have very much enjoyed my volunteering experience with Solace, and I feel confident that it has given me the skills and knowledge necessary to do a good job working within this field. I very much hope that I have offered Solace my time and skills in a positive way and that I have been a useful addition to the team who are in my opinion really great, they have offered me immense support, been very friendly and always there to help out and answer questions when they arise. I am looking forward to progressing further with the support of Solace and the rest of my team.
Amanda – Enfield SASS
Feedback from Jeasmin Chowdhury – IRIS Advocate Educator (Enfield)
Amanda has been with the Enfield SASS Team approximately since April 2016. During this period she has consistently provided a very valuable contribution to our team. She is extremely hard working, approachable, and resourceful. Due to Amanda’s competence we have been able to entrust her with important tasks which require great accuracy and promptness in order to comply with strict deadlines. Once she is given instructions for tasks, Amanda needs little guidance in completing them and does so confidently, requiring minimum further input from us.
We have pleasure in reporting that Amanda continuously demonstrates commitment, passion, dedication and thoroughness in every task she completes. With her growing knowledge and understanding around domestic violence and her demeanour, she is always able to establish a good rapport with service users.
I have personally really enjoyed working with Amanda and I look forward to continuing having her in our team.