After retiring from a long career in nursing, Fred wanted a way to continue using his skills. When an ex-colleague suggested he speak to Victim Support, he explored the role and then trained as a volunteer.
At 68 years old, Fred is a man brimming with empathy. Years spent working with people in his role as a psychiatric and general nurse has put him firmly in touch with how to support people, not only with physical issues, but with emotional needs as well.
“I talk to people in images. If I was talking to you and you had a deep anguish, I’d say something like, ‘If you broke your leg and the bone was coming through we’d see that, it’s very visible and obvious. We can’t see the pain in the mind but it’s very real to the person experiencing it, " Fred says.
I talk about the healing process and the treatment and rehabilitation and relate that to their emotional journey.
Based in the Wairarapa, Fred has been volunteering with Victim Support for the past three years. In the aftermath of the Mosque attacks he flew down to Christchurch with other colleagues to lend a hand to the team on the ground there. He says despite regularly coming into contact with immense grief and suffering, he receives great satisfaction from the work.
“One of the things that makes it worthwhile is even when it’s hard you sometimes see people smile and laugh and you know they are on the way to recovering. The warmth of the gratitude we receive, the thank you, you know you’re making a difference,” he says.
“I also really value that we have a great team here in the Wairarapa – small but strong. Gwen, our team leader, is a great person to talk and offload to. Team meetings are good as well. We all offer advice and guidance and get some back.”
“If anyone is struggling, there’s assistance available from Gwen and the rest of the team. It’s a very supportive environment,” Fred says.
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.