Our award-winning Aspire volunteers are right at the heart of everything we do. Volunteering co-production is embedded all in our support service design, delivery and evaluation processes, and we offer all our volunteers an extensive range of personal development opportunities and in-depth and ongoing support and training.
Our unique ‘Supporting Sisters’ volunteer programme offers the opportunity to be part of a wide variety of support and wellbeing roles. (Please click on the role title for further information and full volunteer role description.)
• Listeners – delivering our one to one confidential listening service
• Group Leads – facilitating a variety of support groups.
• Group Support – assist group leads who can then progress to group leads.
• Befriender’s – help to tackle loneliness and support women to connect with other via a telephone service.
• Domestic Violence Champion’s – a service to support victims and survivors through their experiences and trauma of domestic abuse.
• Stay Safe Champion – offering support to those affected by or at risk of suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
• Aspire Ambassador – represent and promote Aspire at events.
• Mentor - Peer to peer support for personal development and progression.
Aspire volunteers also offer financial support services to our women through the Credit Union, advice and signposting around scams, the dangers of loan sharks and gambling awareness. Additional opportunities for our volunteers can be found within our fundraising and social planning group, and occasional administration and reception roles.
Women engaging with our learning programme can become a Student Representatives, giving a voice to learners and helping to shape and feedback on our learning programme.
“Aspire volunteers are an amazing group of women. Countless women, including myself have benefitted in so many ways from the genuine support they provide.” – Aspire Volunteer and Support Service Coordinator Val Kilner
Our volunteer training is first rate, in 2018, Aspire was awarded County Durham’s Kite Mark award, in recognition of the quality of training and support opportunities offered to volunteers, the organisation’s commitment to overcome barriers to volunteering, and how volunteers are valued within the organisation.
Aspire volunteers and services have also been regularly recognised at the Durham County Council Learner Awards. In 2020 we were proud to have winners in the Inspirational Tutor of the Year (Val Kilner) and Volunteer of the Year (Merchai Pringle) categories as well as a Highly Commended Volunteer of the Year (Margaret Kelly) and multiple nominees across the other categories.
All our volunteers have access to a comprehensive, tailored training programme to match their specific areas of interest. Our core training programme equips women with a range of skills including emotional resilience, communication, safeguarding and mental health awareness.
“[The Supporting Sisters training] was the most intense, complex and perfect bundle of education I have ever experienced. I thoroughly enjoyed all 20 weeks and feel I am continually supported now I am finished.” - Supporting Sister Volunteer B
Benefits of volunteering
Volunteering is recognised as having a positive impact on confidence, self-esteem, mental health, physical health and social networks.
Video about Aspire volunteering can be found here
Becoming a Supporting Sister provides many opportunities beyond volunteering, empowering women to develop confidence, skills and resilience, nurturing an environment where women feel capable of being pro-active, engaged and self-organised.
Many women enjoy the opportunity to use their own life experiences and empathy to help others and our attendees really benefit from the unique experiences and perspectives that our volunteers can offer them. You will always be part of a supportive team of volunteers and staff and we encourage an atmosphere of co-production among our women.
If you are a woman with experience of tackling the challenges life has thrown at you and wish to draw on that experience to help others, then please do follow our social media for updates on when we are next recruiting. You will receive full training and support in your volunteer role to help you make a positive difference to the lives of others.
“I love volunteering at Aspire, it helps me as well as the women I support. We have all had ups and downs in our lives and just knowing that you are not alone helps so much. Aspire has given me so much I want to give back. That is why I am in the Fundraising Group and am a group lead for the Positive Progress group.” – Supporting Sister Volunteer K
Follow us on social media on Twitter and Facebook.
Please note all our services (including volunteering) are for women only. If you have questions about volunteering with us, please email or call us on 0191 389 1504 and we will be happy to have a chat with you.