I heard about Solace through my own experiences of being a young woman using mental health services, campaigning for specialist support for women in the NHS. It’s impossible to spend time with groups of women in the mental health system without the impact of sexual and domestic abuse becoming painfully clear. These days many of my best friends are the women I was with for the grimmest times of my life, and I see them live out the consequences of trauma on a day-to-day basis years later. I hope that Solace might be able to provide some of the support that so many of my friends missed out on when they were younger.
I chose to work with the Fundraising & Communications team as I’ve always liked writing, and outside of volunteering here I’m a Linguistics student, so it seemed to match up with my skills. Although I’m not in frontline services, I take a lot of inspiration from seeing the commitment and compassion of the staff who are. It always gives me hope to be around tough women who get things done. And despite the emotional nature of the work – or maybe because of it – the Solace office is generally much more laughter-filled than my office when I worked in sales!
Solace really support their volunteers’ development with training, too. I’m now taking an accredited Level 3 qualification in Preventing and Tackling Domestic and Sexual Violence, so I’ll be in a better position either to stay in the women’s sector once I graduate, or just to have a more solid base for my own activism.