Crisis line in need of volunteers
Marlborough Women’s Refuge urgently needs volunteers to help staff its vital 24-hour crisis telephone line.
Staff operate the current helpline but a growth in other services means more volunteers are needed to take calls from women in desperate need of help.
Manager Helen Lyons says the demand on all the refuge’s services has been steadily increasing.
The charity helps more than 300 women and their children every year.
Alongside the crisis line, the not-for-profit group supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence via a safe house and other community help.
Lyons says the emphasis is empowering women to make safe choices for their future.
‘‘Marlborough Women’s refuge have a real need to recruit volunteers for this service, as it is currently only operated by our staff.
‘‘Our staff will continue to operate crisis line during office hours, but the need for volunteers has increased with growth in our other services,’’ she says.
Marlborough Women’s refuge covers the crisis line for the Marlborough and Kaikoura areas.
Lyons says the Marlborough crisis line workers are the people who pick up the phone when someone in crisis calls 0800REFUGE.
‘‘Our crisis line is an important first response to support the safety of women and children in our community.
‘‘Sometimes it is providing a much needed person to talk to, other times it may be talking about safety planning, information, or being referred to safe emergency housing.
‘‘Marlborough Women’s Refuge is also the key agency for supporting victims of sexual assault in our community with a range of support and services, this can be accessed through crisis line at any time,’’ says Lyons.
A recent call for volunteers on social media site Facebook met with a positive response and staff hope to repeat the recruitment process every six months.
Long term plans include organising a fundraising group, help with sorting and distributing donations and support at the refuge’s safe house, including activities and maintenance.
‘‘We are looking for enthusiastic Blenheim and Kaikoura people who want to make a difference in the lives of those affected by domestic violence.
‘‘We would also like to utilise any skills our volunteers bring to host education,activities, art etc for clients to be involved in on a regular basis to form networks and relationships in the community,’’ says Lyons.
The refuge needs at least 10 volunteers who can commit to either one shift a week or four a month for at least six months.
‘‘We would also like to utilise any skills our volunteers bring to host education, activities, art etc for clients to be involved in on a regular basis to form networks and relationships in the community.
‘‘Women’s Refuge have many keen supporters in our community and we hear a lot of wonderful and much appreciated feedback about our services,’’ says Lyons.