Fiona Simpson

When did you start volunteering?

I've been counselling with Childline Foyle for seven years. I had retired from teaching 8 years ago and at the end of my first year into a diploma in counselling I decided that the best way for me to stay in touch with children and young people was through counselling. I wanted to be there for them and to help in any way I could.

What are your duties / tasks?

Childline trains you as a counsellor so that you will feel confident when answering the contacts. We are asked to do 3 or 4 shifts a month. I try to fit in as many shifts as I can. When you are fully trained and have had at least two observation shifts you are able to work independently.

What have you gained from Volunteering?

I have gained much personal satisfaction from being a counsellor for Childline and knowing that we may be the only ones who believe what they say and who are there to help and support the young people, not to judge them. Childrena re our future and they deserve to get help when they need it.

What will you take away with you from volunteering?

From counselling with Childline I have a sense of commitment, a sense of gaining trust from the children, gaining thier trust so that they will confide in us when they have no one to turn to. There is a sense of family at Foyle base where we help not only the children but one another. There is a huge sense of happiness in that I am there for them.

Do you have any advice for people considering volunteering?

For volunteering with Childline you need to be interested in children, you have to want to do it and have time set aside to do it. You need to be committed to the training. You need to accept that you can't change things for the children but can give them new perspective that may help them to make choices that will improve their lives and make things better.