Is volunteering for you?

Why volunteer?

We offer face to face listening and befriending to our suicidal visitors from trained volunteers. If you are warm, caring and empathetic and have the time to offer regular, ongoing, non-judgmental support to our visitors, please get in touch.

Feedback from people who have been helped in this way has been overwhelmingly positive.

Where is The Listening Place and when is it open?

We are a London based charity, and we see our visitors at two locations, one near Victoria Station and the second near Kings Cross Station. We are open seven days a week, 9am to 9pm.

Who can be be a volunteer?

Anyone who is 18 or over can apply to be a volunteer.

What is the application process?

We know that what we do is not for everyone, so each stage of the application process, from initial application to the completion of training, includes an element of selection. The selective application process consists of:

  • An online application form
  • An information meeting
  • An interview
  • A preparation programme

What volunteering roles are available?

There are two key roles in The Listening Place:

Listening Volunteers: (LVs) provide ongoing face-to-face support to visitors on regular, fortnightly 4-hour shifts during which they meet with up to three visitors (for up to 50 minutes each). Although no experience is necessary, we seek certain qualities in our listening volunteers, including the ability to be non-judgemental, warm, caring, empathetic and supportive, and to avoid giving advice.

Helping Volunteers: (HVs) are central to each shift as they meet and greet our visitors, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and also support the listening volunteers. For this varied role, we are recruiting volunteers who have the empathy to greet distressed visitors, the willingness to undertake a variety of admin and other tasks with a cheerful and helpful attitude and the resilience to support their team on shift. Our helping volunteers need to be proactive, self-starters and team players with a basic understanding of IT who are able to commit to a regular weekly or fortnightly 4-hour shift.

What is the time commitment?

We ask our Listening Volunteers to commit to a regular four hour shift, once a fortnight, as a minimum.  In order to ensure continuity for our visitors, we would also ask for a minimum one-year commitment from our Listening Volunteers, as well as three months’ notice of intention to leave.

We ask our helping volunteers to commit to a minimum of six months’ volunteering after their initial training.  While we prefer them to commit to a regular weekly four hour shift, if that would exclude you from volunteering with us then please do apply for a regular fortnightly shift instead.

Do my volunteering hours count towards ‘counselling hours’ for my course?

If you are looking for a long term volunteering opportunity, please get in touch with us.

However, we do not offer therapeutic services or counselling to our visitors, and therefore cannot offer therapeutic or counselling placements for our volunteers.  In addition, as ours is not a clinical setting, any hours you volunteer with us would not necessarily contribute towards your course or degree. Furthermore, we do not offer formal supervision.

We also have strict confidentiality procedures which means that students who volunteer with us are not able to share any aspect of their interaction with our visitors outside of TLP, even on an anonymised basis.

Is there training to be a volunteer?

If you are accepted at interview, you will be invited to join a preparation programme of 4-5 hours for the helping volunteer role, or 16-18 hours for the listening volunteer role. The initial training includes an element of selection as we know these volunteering roles are not for everyone.

Our volunteers also receive ongoing training on issues relevant to mental health and the wider health and well-being agenda.

Thinking about our visitors: Is support for visitors time limited?

Support for visitors is time-limited, and the usual initial duration of support is three months. Appointments are booked in three month increments and we do therefore ask Listening Volunteers for three months notice of intention to leave. All our visitors’ relationships are reviewed every three months to make sure they are helpful and positive. We try to be responsive to individual needs.

Thinking about our visitors: Do visitors always see the same volunteer?

Most of our visitors would prefer to see the same volunteer for the duration of their three months of support, to build a trusting relationship and feel comfortable exploring their suicidal feelings, without needing to reexplain their situation. After the initial visit, The Listening Place and our volunteers will always try to give continuity of care and enable visitors to talk with the volunteer they have already seen, wherever possible.

What does it cost to support a visitor?

Our fantastic volunteers and clinical experts give their time for free, with support from a small staff team.  This allows us to keep the cost of providing our visitors with the ongoing face to face support they simply cannot get elsewhere very low. At The Listening Place we see over 1000 people on a regular one-to-one basis, at less than £250 per person, per year. By comparison, the current cost of an in-patient bed for the NHS is approximately £550 per night.

Volunteer application

If you would like to volunteer with The Listening Place, please fill in the application form below.  If you have any queries, please call us on 020 3657 0895.

Volunteer application form