Jo Gundersen, a volunteer in the Wairarapa, admits to stumbling onto Victim Support when one of the first friends she had coffee with after the Covid restrictions started to lift was a Victim Support volunteer who talked to her about what the work involved.
“I’d lost my hubby to cancer in February 2020, just prior to the first Covid lockdown”, says Jo “and I knew I needed to do something with and for people to try to fill the large void losing him had left in my life.
"I thought maybe being a Victim Support volunteer was something I could do, so I made contact with our Wairarapa co-ordinator, Gwen.”
And the rest, as they say, is history with Jo passing her training course and becoming an active volunteer within her Wairarapa community and further afield. A recent memorable moment was speaking to one of the victims of the Loafers Lodge fire in Wellington who had lost everything in the blaze. “The only belongings he had when he escaped were his wallet and phone and the clothes he was wearing. He was so grateful that we had made contact. When I texted him later to let him know that a grant had been approved for him, I received the following reply by text, ‘Thank you very much Jo’. That really made my day.”
The work still comes with its challenges for Jo. “I still get really nervous making first contact with victims, but I now know I don't need to know everything. Just listening and being there is often all that is important at the start. I’m really lucky as Gwen and the Wairarapa team are very knowledgeable and always supportive, and Victim Support have really good information available for us to use.”
Rodger Barlow, a dedicated Victim Support volunteer, witnesses remarkable changes in his work, providing crucial support and making a positive impact.
Jenny Tosswill, a resilient Victim Support volunteer in the Wairarapa, draws on her paramedic experience to support traumatic cases at Victim Support.
Jo's inspiring journey as a Victim Support volunteer in the Wairarapa, from overcoming personal tragedy and finding solace in helping others.
Former psychiatric nurse Tricia brings valuable experience to her volunteering at Victim Support, making a difference in the community.
Victim Support were there for Billy Davis when his wife unexpectedly passed away and now he’s determined to be there for others as a volunteer.
Hong Kong migrant Yau volunteers at Victim Support, providing crucial support for Chinese-speaking victims.
A dedicated volunteer, trained in homicide support, Maria has supported many victims in her community including the mosque attack victims.
Martyn, a retired UK police officer, found a new purpose as a volunteer for Victim Support in New Zealand.
When a frenzied attack occurred in a popular Dunedin supermarket, Victim Support workers and volunteers were on hand to help the 26 people affected.
Meet Chris, a St John paramedic and volunteer with Victim Support and Coastguard, who understands the importance of self-care all too well.
Daniel's experience as a Victim Support volunteer making a difference in people's lives has given him a new perspective on life.
Discover how Fred, a retired nurse, is using his empathetic nature and skills to help victims of crime and trauma in his community.
Chantal, a primary school teacher, found her love of helping others when she became a volunteer for Victim Support.
Meet Wendy, a volunteer who is on a mission to strengthen people's mana and give back to her community.
University professor and weightlifting silver medallist Jennifer is a busy woman, but she still finds time to volunteer for Victim Support.
A 15-year veteran with Victim Support, volunteer Wayne has always been passionate about solving problems and connecting with others.
Diana, assault survivor turned advocate, finds purpose in aiding others with similar experiences, turning trauma into empowerment.
Victim Support volunteer Christine Cowell says that her role involves being constantly outside her comfort zone.
On top of her busy schedule, Sheila volunteers one 12-hour night shift each week for Victim Support in the Wellington region.
Gurpreet Singh, a doctor from India, became a volunteer to help others, follow his spiritual journey and be a positive role model.
Rikihana (Riki) found Victim Support when he went looking for something to offset his high-pressure position and give back to his community.
With her kids grown up, Deidre Anderson went looking for an opportunity to support the people in her community -then she found Victim Support.
Jim's exceptional commitment to his community was recently recognised with the Queen’s Birthday Honours and Service Medal for Victim Support work.