“My mother was widowed very suddenly at the age of 47, when my four siblings were aged between five and 18 years old. Thus, I have great empathy and understanding of the emotional, psychological and financial impact and the challenges that a bereavement has on a family.”
Catharine Eaton’s personal and previous experience led to her joining Jigsaw (South East) in 2019 as a Volunteer Support Worker. The homemaker from Albury, Guildford works with children attending the Grief Support groups.
What do you get out of volunteering Catharine?
It gives me the opportunity to give something back to society, but I also benefit greatly from the feelings of self worth that I have gained from volunteering roles.
What skills did you bring to the role with Jigsaw (South East)?
I enjoy working with the very young children at the support group. I am a mother of four children, which helps, and I think my other volunteer role as a Support Worker at Great Ormond Street Hospital, looking after patients to give parents respite, has helped me contribute at the groups. I have also volunteered as an Independent Visitor to a child in Care for five years. All these roles have helped me in my role at Jigsaw.
What skills have you learned?
Communication, adaptability and working effectively in a team.
What training have you had to help you in your role?
Jigsaw organised a day’s training to give me insight into the role and the necessary guidance needed in a volunteer position with regards to safeguarding etc. I believe my previous volunteer roles and my career in the NHS, prior to having a family, have all been good training for my role as a support worker.
Has being a volunteer changed you as a person?
It has made me more sensitive to the challenges other families face in life and more appreciative of my own family circumstances.
What has volunteering taught you about yourself?
I know that I am able to contribute to society and be a good support, working in a team.
What is the best part about being a volunteer?
Being able to help others, making one feel of value.
What is difficult about volunteering?
It can be tough hearing some of the sad stories and the difficult circumstances that families have to cope with.
What advice would you give to anyone unsure, but thinking about becoming a volunteer?
We volunteer to put something back into society, but one gets so much back, including a sense of fulfilment. I’d definitely recommend volunteering if someone has spare time. It gives one a sense of purpose.
We thank Catharine and all our volunteers for the invaluable work they do. If you are interested in working with us as a volunteer in the future in fundraising, admin or with families, please contact Sarah Dodson by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.