AOP seeks volunteers for vital Peer Support Line

A peer-to-peer support network for individuals at any stage of their optical career

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is seeking members to volunteer for our important wellbeing service – which is rated 100% supportive by those who use it.

The AOP Peer Support Line is a confidential, free-phone helpline for individuals to discuss their problems. The service provides callers with the opportunity to talk to a fellow optical professional in a dedicated non-judgemental space – with the aim of giving them relief and clarity over the issues affecting them. 

Volunteers take calls on a range of subjects including workplace pressure, bullying, ill health, financial worries, bereavement or anxiety about exams. 

Thurka Sivapalan, Chairwoman of the Peer Support Line, said: “Often the first step to feeling in control of a problem is talking about it. However, sometimes it doesn’t feel quite right to share with those closest to you, perhaps because you feel like it will be a burden or you’d like an outside perspective, for this reason, the Peer Support Line offers an invaluable service.  Ms Sivapalan added: “Last year, we had good take-up, with an increasing number, month on month, of individuals calling the line about issues of worry or stress.”   

The AOP is looking for qualified AOP members who are either still working, retired or on a career break, who are driven to make a difference and would like to help sustain this vital support network for the profession.

Applicants will be empathetic, able to refrain from giving advice, have excellent listening skills and commit to being available to take calls two days per month.

The Peer Support Lines is answered 24 hours a day, by an external answering service, with volunteers on duty to return calls between 8am and 8pm. It aims to give callers fast confidential access to trained volunteers who understand the pressures of optical practice.  

For further information about the role, including details on how to apply, please download a volunteer role description and application form. at

The closing date for applications is Friday 23 February 2018. 

For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2063.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit