Have a little read through Carl's volunteering blog...

At LV=GI, we're proud to partner with Family Action, a national charity who help build better lives for individuals and their families across the country. 

As part of our partnership, we’re offering up to 20 hours of volunteering a year to support their helpline service FamilyLine, giving our people the chance to mentor and befriend those feeling isolated or who are struggling with their mental health. 

We spoke with Carl Berriman, our Head of Personal Lines Product Delivery for LV= Broker, who has been volunteering for Family Action recently. Find out about his experience of befriending and chatting to individuals via the helpline, and how his time volunteering has affected him. 

Why did you sign up to be a Family Action volunteer?

I'm keen to help people and just be an opportunity for them to chat through their problems in a safe space. The lockdowns increased the number of people needing support, so during those lockdowns I put some spare time to good use.

What will you be doing as a volunteer?

I’ll spend an hour a week on a call to someone who wants to chat about anything that’s on their mind. We're allocated a specific person to talk to over 10 weeks. The befriendee may be feeling isolated, depressed or just in need of someone to chat to about everyday subjects. It’s really about letting the caller lead the chat and talk about whatever they want.

How did your first session go? 

Very well, I built up a rapport fairly quickly... there was a football connection so I think that helped! We managed to catch up each week as the caller was building up to a particular event which they were concerned about.

Ultimately you make a connection with someone but after 10 sessions you both need to move on, them to the next chapter in their recovery and you as the befriender to another caller.

What do you think you’ll gain by being a volunteer?

Hopefully some satisfaction at being able to help people, even though it’s in a very small way. It should also help with how I handle difficult situations and provide an understanding of what to say…..and not say!

Have you had any challenging cases?

Not so far, certainly there's the possibility of that but we have been fully trained. We understand the need for discretion and asking the right type of questions in order to understand whether there may be a safeguarding issue for example.

Would you recommend the volunteering experience to others?

Definitely, it's well worth the small amount of time spent each week and you can see a person develop over the course of the period that you are talking to them.