The HV role is a complex one. We volunteer for several different reasons, it’s the same for all volunteers. We join and continue to volunteer for different reasons and all have our own motives for being here, under the honest umbrella of helping other people at a critical time in their lives.
Recently I was asked why I was still an HV and to the person’s surprise I said I didn’t want to be an LV. Some HVs aspire to, as some would say, “go up the ranks” and that is where I have an issue. The HV role is seen to be lower than the LV when in fact we’re part of the same team under the SV helping all the visitors.
The HV role is vital. It is the first in-person contact a visitor has with The Listening Place. I pride myself on trying to deliver the most unpressurised, warm welcome anyone can give and show the level of care and attention a visitor will receive while with us.
We are the oil to the smooth running of TLP’s visitor support, in fact we are a part of that team too. Where some might just see it as empathetic beverage making plus admin. We see it as much more and we mean it as that.
We do the initial welcome, the offering of a hopefully made-to-perfection hot drink, information, reassurance, admin, appointments, the little fussy bits i.e. making sure all rooms are prepped etc and the hopeful and hopefully well received “see you in two weeks” when they depart.
I honestly went with my strengths when deciding to become an HV which I think are my personality; I’m a people person and I really care. I am talkative when needed and hold space for those who need it. For an HV knowing when to be informative and reassuring in a non-judgemental human to another human way, is priceless. If a visitor were a family member or someone I cared for dearly, this is how I would hope they would be treated and taken care of.
It means the world to me, knowing that this level of care exists; like a super hope for the world but actually being a part of it. Nothing can dim the light of hope that knowledge brings.
Seeing and being a part of a force for good, making friends, gave me something worthwhile to do and reignited my faith in humanity. That is what The Listening Place does and that’s why I HV.