Volunteers’ Week takes place 1-7 June every year. It is a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and to say thank you.
The Hugh James Neurolaw team supports many charities and during the last few months, our staff have been volunteering with the Silverlining Brain injury Charity.
The Silverlining Charity offers opportunities for all those affected by brain injury (Silverliners), to get involved in exciting and purposeful activities in the community. The charity runs a number of free/low-cost activities and events in the community encouraging members to reconnect, grow and discover something new.
During the coronavirus lockdown, the Silverlining Charity conducted a survey with members, asking questions about the effect that COVID-19 had had upon them. The results were a real worry and showed the impact that self-isolation has had on the brain injury community. Read the results of the survey.
The survey revealed that speaking with friends and family could alleviate the isolation caused by lockdown; however, 6% of those who responded said that they had nobody to speak to each day and only 50% spoke with only 1 or two people every day. The charity recognised that it was therefore crucial to provide members with support and so “Sunshine” support calls were set up.
“When we heard about the Sunshine calls, we immediately wanted to get involved and offer our support. I was delighted that so many Hugh James staff wanted to help and so we set up a rota for a team of us to make weekly calls to those Silverliners who had requested them.” -Cari Sowden-Taylor, Partner, Neurolaw.
Given that it is Volunteers’ Week, I asked the Hugh James team of volunteers to reflect on the Sunshine calls:
“Since lockdown there has been a lot of mental health awareness, especially people speaking about their struggles with isolation and how it has affected them mentally. I was interested to participated in Sunshine calls, because wanted to do something to give back to people who had been struggling with loneliness.
Providing a Sunshine call is extremely rewarding, it amazes me how just 10 minutes of your day can really impact someone else’s entire week.” -Rebecca Herbert, Paralegal, Neurolaw
“Most of the people I call want to talk and I mostly listen. The call helps them to know that people are interested in them. I recently had a chat with Turkish Cypriot lady who was delighted that I knew a few words in Turkish. I could hear the joy in her voice. A lot of them thank me for taking the time to call them.” -Judith Williams, CAP Administrator
“I enjoy meeting new people, and this seemed like a lovely way to meet someone who looks forward to a chat, so that we bring a little bit of sunshine into their lives. I really enjoy the varied conversations with different people; it makes me feel better – always puts a smile on my face, so hopefully it does the same for them. I think the call helps to show that they are not alone and that people want to reach out and help, especially during these difficult times. I have had a few people say to me how much they look forward to the weekly calls and really appreciate the time given in calling.” -Sian Casey, Administrator, Neurolaw
“During the pandemic I have been very conscious of our clients who have really struggled with the restrictions and the lack of ability to meet others and enable them to partake in their usual routines. I spoke to a lady recently whose partner has been struggling to accept her disabilities since her injury. She was very tearful, but described the Sunshine calls as a lifeline to her whilst she is adapting to the significant changes in her life.
During a busy working day with the additional life challenges, the calls have helped me to put my day into perspective. The Silverliners have been so grateful for the time taken.” -Joy Davies, Associate Solicitor, Neurolaw
As mentioned above, we are all busy in our working lives, but it has been extremely rewarding to take time out to volunteer and make a Sunshine call.
The calls have been well received and we hope that they have made a difference to the lives of many people who have suffered loneliness and isolation as a result of the pandemic.
Given that it is Volunteers’ Week, I’d like to thank Rebecca Herbert for co-ordinating the rota for us each week and for providing feedback to The Silverlining Charity. Thank you also to the Hugh James Volunteers:
- Angharad Phillips
- Judith Williams
- Joy Davies
- Sian Casey
- Daniella Scarvaglieri
- Emily Peacock
- Belinda Moseley
- Alexandra Aizlewood
- Rebecca Herbert
- Scarlett Pickering
- Carys Lewis
For more information about the Silverlining Brain Injury Charity or if you would like to donate: The Silverlining Brain Injury Charity