June 18, 2013
Kay’s story of volunteering for MASH
I volunteer weekly in the drop-in and every session is different. I am trained to do needle exchange, and give the women condoms, food, personal attack alarms and ‘Dodgy Punter Reports’. Although a majority of my time is spent listening and talking. I chat to the women about any issues they might have around their family, housing or day-to-day activities and signpost them to the various staff and support services at MASH.
The volunteer team is a real mixture of people including doctors, retired people and students. I think volunteering at MASH is more about the type of character you are, rather than your experience or background, it is more important to be friendly, non-judgemental and genuine.
I have made real connections with a couple of the women, one especially who does not have much confidence and doesn’t talk to many people in the centre, but recently came to me when she was upset about her family which made me feel like I am a real part of providing her a safe place to express herself.
The MASH staff are great to work alongside, they do a fantastic job. They make you feel very supported and it is great to be able to offer a well-rounded service to the women who access MASH – there are staff who can do massaging and acupuncture, a lovely sexual health nurse and great support from other organisations like Addiction Dependency Solutions.
MASH provides me with a lot of training, around specific areas such as sexual health or drugs use, but also in interesting topics such as ‘women in prison’, but the most important thing I have learnt is that no matter what a person’s background or experiences we are all the same, we are all people, and that is a lesson that I can take into every other area of my life.