Job title: Peer Support Line Volunteer
Job purpose: We recognise that practitioners will from time to time feel overwhelmed or stressed, and often this burden can be alleviated just by sharing it with someone who understands not only the pressures of the job but the issues that might arise from it.
The Peer Support Line will provide a listening and support service to all members of the optical profession. We are looking for volunteers who are able to offer their time to this worthy cause.
By volunteering you will be taking an active role in strengthening the profession by helping build and shape a support network that will positively contribute to the wellbeing of your peers.
Volunteers will take calls from people within the profession looking to discuss problems or concerns they may have. As a volunteer you will be trained and guided to support, without giving advice.
Reports to: Peer Support Line Chairperson
Skills and qualifications
The AOP are looking for members to volunteer for two days a month. You will need to be understanding, patient, empathetic, non-judgmental and good at listening.
You will need to be an AOP member (for the duration of your time as a volunteer) and one of the following
- A qualified, retired or career break optometrist
- A qualified, retired or career break dispensing optician.
Training and support
- One-day induction training into the various aspects of call handling
- A clear referral pathway if a caller needs additional support either directly through the AOP or an external resource
- Annual training at our London office that will support you in the following areas:
- Call handling - how to support without giving advice
- Recognising a high risk call and when to refer
- The importance of confidentiality and anonymity
- Training handbook to keep and refer to
- A call answering service will notify you of a practitioner requesting a call within a two hours
- Regular support from the AOP
Two days* each month, varying from Monday to Sunday.
*Although we are requesting two days for the launch of this service, it is likely this might reduce as more volunteers are added to the network. Please also note that some of the most well established services in similar professions see their volunteers taking an average of two - three calls a day.
This is an unpaid voluntary role but travel, training and call costs will be covered.
- Making a difference to someone who needs your support
- A good learning and development opportunity
- Volunteering on days that suit you
- Volunteering from the comfort of your own home
- Strengthening your profession by helping build a support network for your peers