Support at the Listening Place is provided by trained volunteers who, in turn, are supported and supervised by mental health professionals. To offer this much needed service we rely on our volunteers; individuals who have time to offer non-judgemental, warm, caring, empathetic, support to our visitors.
“TLP is a special organisation. The volunteers are some of the kindest, most thoughtful and devoted people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with. Everybody is united, under the goal of helping others and I feel part of a wonderful community. I always look forward to going on shift and catching up with the other volunteers.”
Some questions answered
Everyone has different reasons for volunteering. These range from having the opportunity to undertake activities that would support a particular career path (such as counselling) to simply wanting to give something back. All are valid and we offer all volunteers the opportunity to share their reasons so that, where possible, we are able to meet the aspirations of our volunteers.
Where is The Listening Place and when is it open?
Our premises are in Central London, near Victoria Station, conveniently situated for public transport. We will be open between 9.00 and 21.00, 7 days a week.
Who can be a volunteer?
Anyone who is 18 or over can apply to be a volunteer. However, we know that this type work is not for everyone and we have a selection process that takes place after initial interviews as well as during and at the end of training.
What are the different roles within the Listening Place?
There are two key volunteer roles within the Listening Place
- Listening volunteers whose role is to offer on-going non-judgemental, warm, caring, empathetic, supportive listening to visitors.
- Helping volunteers whose role is to support the Listening Volunteers and others working in The Listening Place. Responsibilities are wide ranging and vary from meeting and welcoming our visitors to undertaking administrative duties to assisting with volunteer recruitment and training
What is the time commitment?
Volunteers commit to a regular 4 hour shift, once a fortnight, as a minimum. We also ask you to volunteer for a minimum of a year after your training is complete.
Does the work count towards “counselling hours” for my course?
This will depend on the course and the supervision you have in place.
Is there training to be a volunteer?
There are15 hours of initial training for all our listening volunteers as well as continuing training on issues relevant to mental health and the wider health and well-being agenda. The initial training also includes an element of selection as we know that this type of work is not for everyone.
Thinking about our visitors: Is support for visitors time limited?
All our visitor 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?
After the initial visit, we will always try to give continuity of care and enable visitors to talk with the volunteer they have already seen.
A letter from a volunteer
November 5, 2018
My Experience at TLP
I’ve had the privilege of volunteering at TLP for almost a year and a half, and the experience has been one I will cherish for life. The environment at TLP is a positive, supportive, and enriching one which made me look forward to my upcoming shifts.
I feel that my experience at TLP is divided into two related yet unique experiences: the face to face meetings with the visitors, and the overall belonging to that entity called TLP.
The face to face meetings I had with visitors have been the most rewarding hours of volunteering I’ve ever had. I feel truly lucky since practically every single person I sat down with was a lovely, caring human being. I got to know some visitors over months and others just for one visit or two. In both cases I felt like our meetings made a difference, both to the visitor and to me. Of course, with the visitors who I had a chance to support for several months I became more comfortable with and our relationship was able to deepen more, and I believe that does impact the amount I was able to help and support. I have met people who came in for all kinds of different reasons, all struggling daily, and I was amazed to see how resilient they can be. At times it gave me motivation when I felt I was having difficulties in my own life. As someone who is interested in mental health and therapy, I found the hours spent with visitors to be so rewarding, as I could see how listening to others really makes a significant difference in how people feel, especially if they are feeling overwhelmingly burdened by life.
The other part of volunteering at TLP is the support system of your shift members, your supervisor, and of the organization is general. Already from the training weeks I felt like these are the nicest people I’ve met so far in England!
Every single step of the way I felt supported by TLP. Whenever I had issues going on at home they not only supported my need for time off, but offered emotional support as well, asking me how I was and always offering to listen. In between visitors I enjoyed spending time in the computer room where everyone is friendly and eager to talk about TLP related matters or just to chat.
What struck me most from my volunteering experience was the fact that everyone at TLP goes above and beyond their assigned duties. I’ve never met such ambitious and hard-working people who are doing all this solely for the benefit of people who feel like the world has given up on them. The dedication I saw coming from the management of the organization is inspiring and I am proud for having been part of TLP.
Finally, I want to emphasize how lucky I feel to have Zilda as my supervising volunteer. She did much more than debrief with me after visits or approve my reports. She guided me and helped me understand more about the work we were doing at TLP and I feel that I have learnt a lot from her and her leadership. Outside of TLP she helped me through personal matters by listening to me and by advocating my needs to TLP management.
Yonatan, a TLP volunteer
Email us here
3 Meade Mews
London SW1P 4EG
The Listening Place is funded by:
The Listening Place is a charitable incorporated organisation.
Charity No. 1164739.