Volunteers welcomed back to Children 1st Parentline

Caring volunteers who give up their free time to support Children 1st Parentline are beginning to return to the office tomorrow as lockdown restrictions ease.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Children 1st Parentline has continued to give families practical and emotional support, over the phone and online.

Necessary restrictions meant that the team were answering calls and webchats from home, with many of our family support workers temporarily taking the place of volunteers. But after four months, some of the dedicated Children 1st Parentline volunteers, who are able to, will safely return to the office tomorrow as part of a phased approach.

Ann from the Children 1st Parentline team said: “We’re all about passion. The volunteers are passionate about the work that they do which is why we’re so delighted to have them back. The staff are all passionate too so it works really well.

“We’re like a family, we all support each other. It’ll be great to have the volunteers back as we’ve missed them. I think they’ve missed us and the work too.

“The sense of satisfaction you get from supporting someone on a call where they might have had nobody else to talk to and have never been listened to is amazing. So the volunteers want to get back to doing what they do really well.”

Michele, Children 1st Parentline Team Leader, said that although the volunteers have not physically been in the office since March, they have still been at the heart of Children 1st Parentline during what has been the busiest time in the service’s history.

She said: “The volunteers are absolutely fantastic. Their commitment and loyalty is incredible. We’ve really missed them and the value they bring to the service. But the lovely thing is that while the volunteers weren’t in the office, we’ve tried our best to keep in contact with them. We’ve tried to keep them involved and have given them updates every few weeks about what was happening. I think they’ve really appreciated that. Over the past month we’ve also had webchat volunteers supporting parents online from home which we’re really grateful for.”

The volunteers, who are able to, will return to Children 1st Parentline tomorrow as part of a phased return, with steps taken to ensure that it is safe. Michele explained: “Tomorrow, after four months, some of the volunteers are coming back in which is fantastic.

“It’s going to be very different for them but they’re eager to come back and they’ve put their trust in us. We’ll be socially distanced and people will have their own wipes, their own headsets in sealed bags, they’ll have their own pad of paper and pen so nothing is shared.

“They’ve said that with the amount of thought that we put into everything, they feel very safe to come back which is lovely to hear. We always call it the Parentline family as we really feel like a family. Everyone supports each other.”

Families tell us Children 1st Parentline is a lifeline for parents and carers as it offers kind and skilled support and advice, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Welcoming the volunteers back means the service can reach even more parents and carers.

Ann said: “Having more people gives us more capacity so we’re able to reach more people which is always our aim – to reach as many people as we can and to be there for them when they need us.”

Children 1st Parentline is here to support every family in Scotland. Call free on 08000 28 22 33, browse our webpages for help and advice, or start a webchat. Whatever your family is facing, we’re here for you.