Volunteers are the heart and soul of TCF. Quite simply, if not for the dedication and generous support of our volunteers, The Compassionate Friends Victoria would not be able to provide the support and care to bereaved members as well as we do.
People often tell us they want to volunteer because they know how much support they received from the organisation when they needed it. At The Compassionate Friends Victoria, support is a two way street. Whilst you are volunteering and helping others find hope, you usually find that you are also ‘discovering’ yourself, making new friends, learning new skills and being in a place where it is safe to talk about your loved one, be recognised for who you are now and for what you have experienced.
There are many areas in which you can volunteer. The only requirement to volunteer in the Centre is that you need to have passed the first anniversary of your loss and the second anniversary for the specialised roles.
How to Volunteer
If you are interested in volunteering with The Compassionate Friends Victoria, please complete this form or contact the centre on (03) 9888 4944 (Country Vic: 1800 641 091).
Volunteering is my way of giving back and saying THANK YOU for helping live a life again. I know I am never going to be the same person as I was before my son died but without TCF, I would not be the person I am today.
To find out more click below to read the details.
Volunteering at The Compassionate Friends Victoria doesn’t mean you need to be responsible for supporting another bereaved person through their grief. There are many essential tasks in and out of the office that also require volunteers, without being exposed to grieving parents and siblings.
Here are just some of our Services Support opportunities:
- Office Tasks – Processing Mail, Payments, General office administration tasks which include photocopying, packages for posting etc.
- Computer Tasks – Microsoft Word, Database
- Editing and updating of information pamphlets and booklets
- Writing Anniversary Cards
- Board of Management
- Events – ‘Walk to Remember’ – The Gathering – Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards
There is no need to worry if you are not skilled or trained in any of the above, as we will train you.
At The Compassionate Friends Victoria, we will always respect that you are a bereaved parent or sibling first and a volunteer second so if you’re having a bad day, we truly understand and will support you in any way you need.
I am very happy to be a volunteer at The Compassionate Friends. Being available to share with other parents or siblings, either in person or via phone is rewarding. It is a chance to do trivial but necessary jobs and share the camaraderie of these very particular friendships…
For anyone who has had a son, daughter, brother or sister die, from any cause and at any age, we have a 24 hour telephone grief support service. All calls are taken by trained volunteers who have themselves, lost a son, daughter, brother or sister but are further down the ‘grief journey’.
Our grief Helpline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can volunteer to come in to the centre and provide support to a bereaved person over the phone during the day or if business hours are an issue for you, you can volunteer to assist in the After Hours phone service.
* Specialty training required to answer grief calls.
Taking a call from a member is an opportunity for me to truly listen to someone else’s feelings, to connect, however briefly, with another person on an emotional level is somehow very rewarding. The real reward is when, after half an hour or so of listening to another’s story and hearing them settle from agitated sadness to relative calmness, they finish up the conversation and thank you for listening to them. That’s a good feeling.
A support group facilitator (along with another facilitator, or a facilitation team) helps run a monthly support group meeting for bereaved parents and/or siblings. Support group facilitators create a caring and supportive atmosphere that encourages grief sharing and peer support.
All facilitators will have received The Compassionate Friends Victoria’s four-day training (held annually) which equips them with the information and skills to run group meetings, as well as the direction on how to apply one’s own lived experience to support others. The group facilitator role is a very rewarding one and epitomises the best of peer support – in supporting others, we also support ourselves.
Support group facilitators are required to have passed the second anniversary of your loss.
* Specialty training required to answer grief calls.
It has been an extremely rewarding experience to be able to give hope, where hope seems lost forever, to those who walk this unique, terrible journey, which no one ever hopes to walk and belong to a group that no one ever wants to be a member, but is so grateful it exists.
The Compassionate Friends Victoria conducts sessions on “Grief and Loss” to the community to increase awareness about our organisation and to help educate the community on how to better support a person who has lost a loved one.
At The Compassionate Friends Victoria, we have a team of volunteer speakers who are able to speak to any group. If you would like the opportunity to be part of that team, we have excellent training and support for our volunteers. Our volunteer speakers are trained in this presentation and speak on:
- Grief and loss
- How to be helpful to someone who is in grief
- The Compassionate Friends.
Volunteers are also taught how to tailor a talk to the needs of any group such as:
- Community Organisations
* Specialty training required to answer grief calls.
The Compassionate Friends Victoria has been a great support to me on this long and arduous “roller-coaster” ride of grief. I just needed to know that I was not alone, I was not crazy, that there was some-one else like me out there who could listen to and help share my burden. Most importantly, through this organisation, I found hope again and the strength to “renovate” and rebuild my life – one brick at a time. This is why I volunteer, because I know I can now do for others what TCF has done for me.
Our Magazine is produced bi-monthly and posted to members. Volunteers assist in the preparation of the items to be mailed. They meet every second month on a scheduled day, usually from 10.00 am until finished; on average two and a half hours.
This is an opportunity for Volunteers to assist The Compassionate Friends Victoria and at the same time enjoy a social occasion with members living the same experience.
I treasured writing the anniversary cards. While it was very hard to read of all the people dealing with the anniversary of their child or their sibling, I got to write my daughter’s name over and over again in the signing off.
Specialty training is also available for volunteers. To find out more click below to read the details.
The Compassionate Friends Victoria’s INDUCTION DAY officially welcomes you and lets you know all about the organisation: its values and purpose, self-care strategies, your rights and responsibilities, and more. The day provides you with an overview of The Compassionate Friends Victoria’s theoretical and practical approaches in supporting bereaved individuals and families. It’s also a great opportunity to meet with other bereaved parents and siblings, as well as meeting the staff and trainers at The Compassionate Friends Victoria in a friendly and relaxed environment. We look forward to meeting you!
Please note: The Induction Day is now a compulsory part of all group leader, telephone and centre training. It’s a great introduction to understand what The Compassionate Friends Victoria is all about.
Induction Days are conducted at regular intervals. If you would like to discuss the Induction Day further with a staff member, please contact the centre on (03) 9888 4944 (Country Vic: 1800 641 091).
If you have an interest in running a TCFV Support Group or would like to support a Group Leader, this training is an essential step towards fulfilling that goal.
The course content includes: creating a safe and supportive atmosphere, grief theory, leadership skills, the structure of meetings, empathic listening and responding, self-care and group dynamics.
Feedback from bereaved parents and siblings who have participated in this training include:
- “I feel better able to support a group now.”
- “Empathic listening, in particular, was useful not only for peer support, but for all other relationships.”
- “The format, structure and content of the course was easy to listen to and understand.”
- “The trainers were very gentle and supportive.”
The training commitment is for four days (which includes the Induction Day for all Compassionate Friends volunteers), followed by observing the running of an existing support group and a follow up review day in September.
To participate in this training, you will be past your second anniversary. Training is held annually, with an Induction Day in March/April, three days of facilitator training in May and the review day in September.
The Volunteer Telephone Listening Skills Training Course, held annually, is a prerequisite at The Compassionate Friends Victoria, for Volunteers who would like to be able to answer grief calls.
This is a wonderful opportunity to be able to assist others who are learning to live with the circumstances that have changed their lives so profoundly. For any of us that have used this service, to know that another person on the other end of the phone, has also experienced the loss of a son, daughter, brother or sister, is very comforting. Only those who have lived through this nightmare, can truly have a close understanding of what we are experiencing.
This 20hr course is not only valuable for helping others but also in recognising elements of ourselves. It is a truly rewarding experience with some very important life skills, learnt along the way. Course Outline:
- Group contract for learning
- Communication skills
- Rights & Responsibilities
- Individual learning goals
- Being present to callers
- Your role with callers
- Establishing rapport
- Assessment of caller’s need
- Components of communication
- The role of theory
- Empathy-Understanding grief
- Differences in grief expression
- When to refer on
- Terminating calls
To participate in this training, you will be past your second anniversary.
Public Speaking Training is required to deliver Community Education sessions. The presenters on our public speaking team undergo training that includes:
- TCFV induction
- Information about the grieving process
- Observation of experienced TCFV speakers
- How to use the audio-visual equipment as necessary
- Learning the skills to become a confidant presenter
- Engaging with the audience
- A buddy system for beginning to give presentations
- Occasional team meetings for learning and discussion
Our speakers are all members of The Compassionate Friends Victoria and so they are bereaved parents or siblings who can speak from the heart.