20 February 2014 | News and features | Back to Blog

Guardian Spotlight: Jenny

We think Jenny is a total hero, which is why she’s under our guardian spotlight this month.


Jenny says: “Being a guardian with Dot Dot Dot has enabled me to take up a range of volunteering opportunities. Currently, I am a volunteer caseworker for the International Family Tracing service at the British Red Cross, a listening volunteer with the Samaritans, and a member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute’s (RNLI) volunteer crew.These organisations each provide very different services, however all consider volunteering to be at the heart of their work.

RNLI provides a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service across the UK and Ireland. I’m based at one of the few inshore lifeboat stations, on the Thames. A team of around 50 volunteers support the full-time crew to ensure the station is permanently manned and the lifeboat can be deployed within 90 seconds of a request to launch. We can be tasked not just with rescuing people in the water, but also providing first aid treatment to passengers on tour and party boats, assisting vessels in difficulty, searching for missing persons, and going to the aid of people at risk of entering the water.

The Samaritans also provide a UK-wide service. 201 branches across the UK offer support to people experiencing feelings of distress or despair and who may be thinking about ending their life. The branch I volunteer with had over 100,000 contacts in 2012 and relies on the time given by over 450 volunteers to provide around the clock support when it is needed. As one of these volunteers, I answer phone calls, reply to texts and emails, talk to people in person and, when I can, support the organisation’s outreach projects – which includes work in train stations, prisons and with homelessness charities.

Finally, the Red Cross International Family Tracing service works to restore contact between families who have been separated due to conflict or natural disaster. Casework volunteers support this service by talking to and interviewing service users, explaining how the tracing service works, helping people to fill out tracing request forms, and conducting local searches.

I feel very passionately about the work done by each of these organisations and I know first hand what a difference volunteers make to their operation. For me, volunteering isn’t just a big part of my weekly routine but also my identity.  I have gained a huge amount both personally and professionally from volunteering, have benefited from the substantial time and resources invested in me by organisations I volunteer with, and have learned a lot from the diverse range of people I have met through volunteering.

One of the things I’ve loved most about Dot Dot Dot so far is hearing about the volunteering that other Guardians do, and learning about opportunities to get involved in different projects and organisations. I think it’s great that Dot Dot Dot facilitates this by providing affordable accommodation and by creating a community where guardians can share volunteering opportunities and experiences.”