On Friday 25th January 2019, we held a volunteer training day! these are some of the comments we received.
I was proud to be part of the first training day for volunteers and trainee counsellors. The ‘Ubuntu’ ethos pervaded, kindled by a powerful imagery inspired meditation. Each and every person’s contribution was listened to and valued equally with no judgement, just encouragement and gratitude and it was inspiring to be surrounded by the energy and openness of the Just Talk community. So much was covered and I loved how we learnt with our whole being whether through, discussion, sharing, listening or movement!
I have come away enriched and empowered.
Student Trainee Counsellor Camilla Lethbridge
Today I attended my first training day with Just Talk, the family atmosphere and the professionalism of the organisation was impressive. Many people were meeting for the first time in person, however, it did not feel awkward as the carefully chosen volunteers all had a common desire for Just Talk to be a leader in counselling standards. Amongst the group of 11 volunteers, what struck me most was the desire of each and every one of the volunteers to provide the best possible service to the community of Sudbury.
Just Talk have worked hard to ensure the confidentiality of those visiting the counselling cafe facility. By providing a smooth and welcoming experience as visitors move from the shop to the cafe.
A comprehensive Volunteer Manual has been created and shared to all volunteers, to ensure that all service users can be assured of a consisted professional experience, with the wellbeing of all at its heart.
The age range, cultural diversity and life experience of the attendees of the training was refreshing broad. The desire of the leadership team to hear everyone’s voice meant, that as an attendee, I felt valued and respected.
I left the training session proud to be part of such a forward thinking, inclusive community organisation.
Student Trainee Counsellor Michelle Lumley
Life is an amazing miracle with all its challenge but one that is made easy in the company of good and vibrant people we find along the way. The training today made me realise of the greatness of this mission and the honour of being part greater than myself. Thanks Just Talk and the whole team for being visionaries and for making the wishes and dreams of reaching to many a true reality.
Student Trainee Counsellor Viktor Barbosa
I found that the Training day starting with the Meditation was very uplifting. From the Growing of a Seed, you let us Plant our own Seed. I would have loved to hear what the group had planted. I realised that would be Wrong as our Tree are Personal to each of us as we can Energise Ourselves and bring Energy to the Group which will begin our Journey.
The Atmosphere was very nice as I believe that Talking and making New Friends brought us closer as we all have one Goal which is JUST TALK.
I found the day very interesting, it has changed my mind set, as I am seriously thinking of training to be a Mental Health Therapist
Val Robbens Domestic
It was lovely to see so many faces assembled at the new premises of the Just Talk Campaign. All of the volunteers had been asked to attend a training day to discuss health and safety in the new building, run over the procedures in regards to the service shop, and to clarify our mission statement.
As I looked around the room, I was reminded of just how many people have chosen to give up their time to volunteer for this charity. Rich in diversity, each person has been on their own unique journey but were now gathered together for a common cause.
We started the training with a visualisation technique from Glenda. Closing our eyes, we were asked to consider the importance of symbolic images as a driving force within our lives. Picturing a tiny seed in our minds eye, we imagined ourselves planting it and then watching it grow. As the seed slowly grew, developed and then blossomed, we also saw ourselves grow, develop and blossom. This kind of positive visualisation can be a useful way of gently guiding our lives in the direction we choose.
Charlotte, the legal brains behind Just Talk, then talked us through the new Handbook which she has been compiling. More than just a health and safety manual, the Just Talk handbook seeks to lay down the charity’s mission statement and to clarify the fundamental values that underpin the Just Talk Campaign. Splitting into small groups, we each made lists of qualities that we thought should be included. We were all in agreement that the charity existed to break down the social stigma of counselling and to provide those that need it a safe space to discuss their issues. The counselling café concept especially, is a way to increase accessibility to counselling, particularly for young people and the elderly who are often the least likely to make use of emotional support services. By normalising therapy and encouraging people to build a sense of openness, we hope to help the local community improve their emotional well-being in the spirit of trust and acceptance.
These values tie in closely with the charity’s motto, ‘Ubuntu’. Ubuntu is a South-African word which captures the concept that no-one exists in isolation and that to fully experience our humanity, we must stop viewing ourselves as separate individuals. Rather, we exist in a collective community, each playing our parts to benefit the greater whole.
It was then Tanya’s turn to ‘talk shop’, covering the procedures and day-to-day running of the service shop. Having faced a couple of challenging encounters with some of the less pleasant members of the public, Tanya demonstrated her capability of being ‘front-of-house’, and gave us all some pointers on how to deal with difficult situations.
Dan, a local fitness instructor, then took us all through our paces as he got our heart rates pumping with a mercifully short exercise routine. Physical exercise is an important tool to combat poor emotional well-being and can be particularly effective at countering the effects of depression. Increasing the amount of physical activity in our daily routine can feel like a chore, but the positive effects speak for themselves.
Finally, we were all lucky enough to witness some role-play performed by Sharon and Glenda. The sad scene of a suicidal client discussing ending their life with their counsellor, demonstrated the importance of maintaining professional boundaries and of remaining vigilant to what can happen when a client is truly desperate. Having had direct experience with suicidal clients, Sharon and Glenda discussed how it had affected them and the measures they had put in place to deal with such emotionally challenging situations.
Despite the difficult subject matter, suicide reminds us of the lowest point a human being can reach. When a person hits ‘rock bottom’, it becomes very difficult to see any positive way forward. In a growing age of social isolation, with social media increasingly replacing physical interaction, and a country deeply divided by opposing political views, the need of charities like Just Talk to provide an oasis of calm are essential. By modelling this sense of peace, maybe our humble counselling café will even spread to other towns?
It was a good day and I believe that we all left feeling very positive. We felt like a team and that’s definitely a good feeling. Ubuntu!
Student Trainee Counsellor Kev Ellis