June 3 to 9 is Volunteers Week, we’re recruiting volunteers to answer calls coming in to our Wellbeing Helpline and Texting Service based in Blackpool.

Meet Marie. 

She’s clocked up more than 3,000 hours over 27 years volunteering for the service and been a friendly face and listening ear since August 1996. She mainly covers the shift hardest to staff, the 8pm to midnight slot, dedicating around 108 hours each year on average to helping others. She got into it as she was interested in mental health and likes helping people.

Marie enjoys speaking to callers but says that the helpline isn’t just about using your voice:

 “It’s a listening service. Normally in life you tell someone your problem and they then talk about what they did when they went through something similar. This is different because it is all about allowing the person to share their experience, it is totally focused on the caller who is often feeling lonely.”

The positive impact of having someone listen to what a person is going through cannot be underestimated and is also reflected in one of the things which Marie is most proud of:

“We have lots of people who are regular callers so we do get to know them, they’re glad to speak to someone. One woman calls often and really thanks the helpline and all of the volunteers for everything, she is really grateful and appreciative that we are there for her.”

Marie didn’t realise she had dedicated so much time to helping others, not only volunteering for the Trust, she also works in her free time at a nearby primary school and pays regular visits to an elderly wheelchair-bound man to provide him with some company and someone to talk to.

Marie says:

“It’s just part of my life and I am glad to be able to do it.”

She’s handled thousands of difficult and challenging phone calls but still enjoys the helpline role and working with each and every person she in on the team with.

But despite all she does, Marie is very humble and was shocked to have been nominated for and won an award as ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at our annual colleague awards ceremony. Marie said she was “really honoured and pleased”.

Are you inspired by Marie?

If you want to help and be a listening ear check out the vacancy at The Harbour in Blackpool.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities with us, take a look at our volunteers page.