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Volunteering

*PLEASE NOTE WE ARE CURRENTLY AT CAPACITY FOR VOLUNTEERS*

Thinking of becoming a volunteer?

Believe it or not Pathway Project was founded on volunteer hours back in the early 90s, with the start of our 24 hour helpline all from Kathy Coe’s bedroom. Due to the lack of help for domestic abuse victims in the area, Kathy took it upon herself to do something about this. Without Kathy’s determination and dedication to Pathway Project we wouldn’t be where we are today. Pathway Project has an incredible team of dedicated volunteers that go above and beyond in their roles to help improve the lives of the adults and children we work with.

Pathway would not work as effectively as it does without the commitment and dedication of our superb volunteer team.

Without our volunteers we would not be able to provide the support we do. Volunteers are an integral part of our charity, helping with everything from helpline to fundraising to administration.

If volunteering with us sounds like something that interests you, fill in the form on this page and we will email you a volunteer pack.

If you have any questions regarding volunteering please call us on 01543 442 610.

As I volunteer we will expect you to…

  • Always carry out your role to the best of your ability, following the Pathway Project set of values.
  • Uphold the policies and standards of service delivery when carrying out your role
  • Keep up regular communication with Lynn (Volunteer Manager) to discuss your role
  • Abide by safeguarding principles when working with vulnerable adults and children
  • Behave responsibly regarding your own and others’ safety
  • Always act in a non-judgemental, non-discriminatory and inclusive manner to all of our staff and service users.
  • Keep client information confidential and secure, in line with our GDPR and data protection policy and procedures
  • We will not tolerate any abuse towards our staff or service users.
  • And most importantly enjoy your time with us.

Lynn (Volunteer Manager)

I started as a volunteer for Pathway in 1999 after applying for a job with Pathway and finding out that I didn’t at that time have the experience I needed. I spoke to Kathy Coe, the founder of Pathway who advised me that there was an opportunity to do some voluntary work with Pathway which I was very interested in. I attended an interview and then attended training for helpline. Because I was working full time, I was able to offer one evening a week. So my role was to have the helpline from 5pm through to 8am the next morning – I did this for couple of years. I then had the opportunity to apply for a post with Pathway in 2001 as a support worker for a service that was part managed by Pathway, and I got the job!

I took over as manager of the Burntwood refuge in 2003 until the refuge closed in 2013. Since then I have worked in a lot of different positions such as Family Justice Co-Ordinator, Floating Support Worker, Helpline Coordinator and most recently Volunteer Manager!

I now manage a fantastic team of 19 volunteers and placements who do varied roles within Pathway including helpline, admin, group facilitating, peer support, maintenance, fundraising to name just a few! Pathway would not be where we are today without our brilliant volunteers, whose commitment never ceases to amaze me.

Our very first volunteer was of course Kathy Coe MBE who started Pathway many years ago. Kathy retired last year and has gone full circle and is now one of our much valued volunteers.

When I became a volunteer all those years ago, I never dreamt that this would be my career going forward, and although we are nearly 20 years on, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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FAQ’s

The quick answer is no you don’t.

All we ask is that you are non-judgemental, kind and compassionate about helping others.

Yes! All roles require an element of training, including an induction to get you settled into your role.

Pathway Project will provide you with the basics you will need in order to carry out a volunteer role with us at Pathway, such as basic domestic abuse awareness, and training and adult and child safeguarding. There will be opportunities along the way to get training in other areas such as fundraising and helpline.

This depends entirely on what you are able to offer and the role that interests you. We have volunteers that contribute a few hours a week and others that contribute hours as and when they can. We have a range of opportunities across the charity during daytimes, evenings and weekends – there’s something for everyone – but this is something we will be able to discuss at interview

We are happy to look at applications from over the age of 18. However we do ask if you have been a service user, you have a six month break away from the service before applying as a volunteer.

All you need to do is fill out our basic info form which you can find on … and we will get back to you with the application documents you will need to apply.

We have a range of exciting volunteering opportunities including everything from general day to day administration at our Hope Centre offices; this coud include helpingkeep our systems up to date or typing up client notes to name but a few of the tasks.

Helpline – providing emotional and practical support over the phone on our busy 24 hour helpline.

Fundraising – which is one of the most important roles at Pathway as this is how we make a lot of money that goes towards our day to running of our service.

These are just a few of the different roles you will be able to do with us at Pathway.

We believe you should never be out of pocket if you volunteer with us, so we’ll pay for all of your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, including travel. However, we cannot pay childcare expenses or a lunch allowance.

A criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t volunteer with us. Depending on the nature of your criminal record, there may be certain roles you will be unable to do with us.

It’s best to discuss any criminal record issues with us prior to filling out an application form, as this will be judged on a case by case basis.

Yes you will, we carry out a full DBS check on all of our volunteers.

Pathway may be able to offer you placement hours but this is entirely dependent on whether we can accommodate you at that time, as sometimes we just don’t have the time or staff to assist with monitoring placement hours.

At the moment we are only accepting counselling placements. This section will be updated regularly so check back in the future.

What will you get from volunteering with us at Pathway Project?

  • Using your skills to help others
  • Being part of a dedicated and enthusiastic team
  • You will be able to build your CV or your skill set
  • Build your confidence
  • Make a difference to the community
  • Enjoying a new experience

Volunteers Stories

To say my time as a Pathway volunteer has been interesting would be an understatement! I’ve been with Pathway for 2 years now and I can honestly say it has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

In 2017 I was new to Lichfield & found myself with some free time as my 3 children were all at school full time. I had wanted to do volunteer work for many years but didn’t know where to start so went into Support Staffordshire in Lichfield.

They felt my interests and background would match up well with Pathway who were (fortunately for me) looking for volunteers at the time .
I immediately felt like part of the team. The training and support I received was super professional & detailed.

Everything I was learning was completely new to me and often a real eye opener. There have of course been occasions when I have been dropped in at the deep end but that’s often the best way to learn!

My roles have been so varied over the last few years, from helping out on the Wellbeing Workshop, to taking service users to court, helping at charity events and one to one peer support with Pathway survivors. I think my favourite role though is answering the helpline – you never know what the call will be about or who will be on the other end of the phone. It can be a challenge but it’s amazing to feel like you’re helping on the front line as that first point of contact!

The Pathway staff really are incredible as are the Pathway services users I’ve met along the way. Every hour you can give as a volunteer is appreciated & valued.
It’s really given me such a sense of purpose and belonging – Let’s hope Pathway can continue its amazing work for many years to come!

I first experienced the Pathway Project four years ago when trying to get some refuge for a family member in need. I was in awe of their care, compassion and efficiency; how at ease they made me feel, how helpful the team were, and how effortlessly they handled our distress. Shortly after I approached Pathway with a burning desire to help; armed with a fair few years of care experience, and an (even longer) personal history of domestic abuse. I began my journey learning the ropes: administration, fundraising and working on the helpline. Each year I set myself a physical challenge to raise funds- at this point I simply have to say that the ten hour cycle I completed is something I’m happy to have only ever had to do once (and I have never looked at a bicycle in the same way since). However, we find ourselves in a time where funding is stripped to the bone, and we are ever increasingly reliant on volunteers and fundraising than ever before. The physical aches and pains are a small and worthy price to pay to contribute to the continuation of our support services and groups- as they are vital to recovery in our aim to turn survivors into thrivers. It is also very motivating to have something so worthwhile to train for and have found friends joining me or helping to raise awareness- the sense of community and accomplishment this brings makes fundraising a gift in of itself.

During this time I embarked on re-entering education to study history, sociology, psychology and counselling. My existing skills at Pathway in addition to the new insights of my education allowed me to be able to develop further within the charity. I began by assisting our counsellors with their notes and in co-creating new ‘tools’ to help survivors tell their stories in preparation for their upcoming court cases. These stories moved me to the core and would ultimately shape my academic interests in the area of complex trauma and domestic abuse. During the past year I have been honoured to have been given the opportunity to develop and run my own support group: a seven week therapeutic art programme dedicated to exploring thoughts, feelings and emotions surrounding abuse in a safe and non-judgemental space. It is important to note that you do not need any previous art experience and I work very mindfully to remove a sense of art anxiety with good humour- stick men are more than welcome and just as glorious as the finest oil painting. It is not how it looks, it is the meaning that matters. It is difficult to find sufficient enough words that truly convey the power of this artwork and the profound beauty and sorrow interwoven in it’s meaning. I find myself in weekly awe at the courage and empathy displayed in the group, and feel truly humbled to use my own recovery to promote self-compassion and provide (as one service user put it) “a place to simply be allowed to feel”.

The group also allows much opportunity for psychoeducation and we cover a broad range of topics related to abuse, such as (but not limited to): rumination, the inner-critic, compassion, narcissism, empaths (and the bond between them) and how the brain responds and develops to trauma. My experience is that discussing these topics gives rise to that ‘lightbulb moment’ whereby we can begin to understand and normalise why we think, feel and behave in the ways we do, but importantly: that they can change, but make no mistake this is no easy task or linear path. The take home message of the group is despite the abuse you have suffered, and continue to suffer, you are just as worthy as the next person- you have the power within yourself to be the master of your own experience. Posing the questions, how do you feel? What do you want? How may you begin to think of yourself with compassion? Finally, what do you need moving forward? This final element is important as it allows our service users to access different support from us, such as, counselling, peer support and our other support groups which center around self-help, education and mindfulness. I am thrilled to say that a lot of the members of the group go on to access additional support and continue to use art as part of their growing toolkit. I’m equally as excited to announce that we are looking to expand and also provide a monthly open group for all previous group members to continue to create their art and share what they have created since and between groups.

In addition, I am proud to be able to use this insight and knowledge to teach others (outside of Pathway) about the complexity and self-shattering ramifications of experiencing abuse. With the permission of the group I am also able to share some of their art and tell their stories in the hope it will raise awareness and perhaps inspire others to join our cause, or realise that they themselves can get (and are entitled to) help. Advocating for domestic abuse to be taken more seriously in society as an unspoken pandemic is something I feel extremely passionate about. Pathway is a grassroots movement: started by one woman with a dream to create services that previously didn’t exist and is a cornerstone of our community. I play but a small part in this movement and have admired the dedication and tenacity of the entire team to adapt and rise to the challenges we face. Conversely I have also shared in the hardships and struggles of the impact of austerity on both staff and service users alike. I personally do not want to imagine what life would be like for victims of abuse (and their children) if they had no information, no refuge, no support, no legal aid, no safe space, no escape. We may be small, but rest assured, we do everything we can with what we have to help anyone who needs us. Unfortunately, it is because we are small we cannot support everyone, but if we can’t we will give you all the information you need in the genuine hope that someone else in our network can.

If you are reading this and you need support, do not hesitate to contact us- we are here for you, even if it is simply to listen.

Lastly, to the team and our service users, remember:

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” – Jung.

Thank you for the incredible work and the inspirational journey so far.

Over 30 years ago I was in a very abusive marriage, and couldn’t see a way out for myself and my three children. There were very few services and I felt too ashamed to talk to anyone or ask for help. That was when I became a volunteer as I set about trying to start a service myself. I think that the work I was doing strengthened me, and things at home reached a really bad point. One night I moved in with a friend and her husband and although there was a great deal of pain and worry it was the start of a new life.

I worked as a volunteer for Pathway Project, as I set up the charity, which took seven years. I set up a 24 hour helpline, with a rota of wonderful volunteers, myself included. Finally Comic Relief funded my salary and so my full time hours were paid, but I still did helpline shifts which were done as a volunteer. The rest as they say is history.

Volunteers have always played a really important role in Pathway. They have supported the staff in delivering a gold standard service, and have acted as helpline support, refuge support, peer mentoring, counselling, McKenzie Friends, children’s support, and admin support. They remain so very important a part of Pathway and we are so proud to have built up a family of amazing volunteers.

In 2019 I retired from my full time job and immediately became a volunteer. I help with fundraising, training, peer mentoring and I also run a drop in once a week in Burntwood. I love Pathway and will always be part of it in some way. It is impossible to say how much you get back from volunteering – it gives back far more than it costs you. No-one should live in fear because there is no way out. With the help of our wonderful volunteers we aim to always offer a way out and support to build a new life.

I first became aware of Pathway through my job at the District Council and I discovered what great work they were doing in helping the victims of domestic abuse in the absence of any comparable state support. So much so that when I retired, I was keen to help support them in a more practical way and applied to become a volunteer.

I have now been a volunteer for about 5 years and I thoroughly enjoy it. I was very quickly welcomed into the team and made to feel a valued part of the organisation. I felt, and still feel, very much at home whenever I am there. Although I have little direct contact with the service users, I am aware, through the role I carry out, the difficult lives many of them live and decisions they have to face. The small team of permanent staff work incredibly hard and face some really challenging and heart-breaking situations but always seem to remain calm and positive. All volunteers are warmly welcomed into the team and are given all the support they need to carry out the varied roles within the service. Overall, it is a great team of people who go above and beyond to support both the service users and each other.

I started volunteering with Pathway about 4 years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. I was particularly interested in supporting women, and the Lichfield volunteer office suggested Pathway. The application form and interview meant that each volunteer is valued as an individual and given a role that suits them.

My work has been to support some of the groups that Pathway run to help women who have survived domestic abuse. The groups have ranged from Life Coaching and Domestic Abuse Awareness to belly dancing and craft work! It is an absolute privilege to play a small part in the lives of women who have been through trauma, and see them grow and flourish. They are an inspiration to me.

The staff at Pathway have always made me feel welcome and valued. They are a tight kit community whose total focus is on the people they support. It is always a pleasure to walk through the door and join the team!