Reasonably new to the role of Victim Support volunteer Chantal worried at first she would get too emotional. But she soon realised her love of helping others gave her the strength she needed to be there for someone at their lowest point.
Primary School teacher Chantal is used to supporting others.
“Now my own kids are almost completely independent, I realised I had time to be able to go out there and support my community,” Chantal says.
“I lost both my parents when I was quite young. I’ve also been through a number of situations where I could’ve used Victim Support, but to be honest I didn’t even know it existed until I joined. Lots of people don’t, and that’s a shame", she says. "I thought how awesome it would’ve been to have somebody like Victim Support offered in my personal situations, so I want to be that support for somebody else."
“I’m very lucky to be able to do what I do. It’s so rewarding and it keeps me grounded.”
“It’s never easy, you just read the situation and your client’s needs. You don’t have to think too hard, you just feel, remain calm and be the strength they need at that point in time,” Chantal notes.
“I think my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to answer all the questions, but you don’t need to. You walk in there and don’t overthink it. Once I put that lanyard on, it calms me and I’m just in the zone. I’m there to do what I need to do.”
“A lot of the strategies I learnt during my training, particularly around mental health, have not only been beneficial to me personally, but I take back to my colleagues here at school. I make an effort to go to all the trainings and meetings, to gain as much knowledge as I can to best support my clients. There’s a lovely group of volunteers. The support we get and give each other is amazing.”
Chantal’s partner and children are very supportive of the time she spends volunteering.
“My family is incredible. They said ‘if this is what you want to do, just do it’,” she says.
“If I have to go out on a call or ring my clients they just step in and keep everything running. I certainly couldn’t do this without their support.”
“I’m very lucky to be able to do what I do,” Chantal says. “It’s so rewarding and it keeps me grounded.”
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Jim's exceptional commitment to his community was recently recognised with the Queen’s Birthday Honours and Service Medal for Victim Support work.