At The Insurance Charities, we rely on our network of volunteers throughout the UK and Ireland to visit those who apply to us for help. Without these volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to reach as many people in need. One of our visitors, Liz Coyle, explains why she volunteers for us.
“As with many of us involved in the profession, I was co-opted onto the local institute council, in part to ensure the views of younger, female members might be taken into consideration in the way it was run. This was in 1993. The role I was given was ‘deputy charities representative’, the full representative being more senior in his (my) organisation and so unable to do all of the leg-work, something I was happy to do. Well, he moved on and became President, and moved into the ‘full role’ of both visitor and fundraiser. There were no fireworks, nothing dramatic, I fell into it to help out and ultimately it has helped me.
Sometimes we are pulled into a downward spiral that it is difficult to get out of without outside help and support.
We all go through difficult times in our lives. I have probably had my share. Fortunately, I have been supported by family and friends, and financially there has never been a real problem, although at time money has been tight. We are not all this lucky. Illness, both physical and mental, family problems, work issues or unemployment and bereavement all take their toll on our energy and resources. Sometimes we are pulled into a downward spiral that it is difficult to get out of without outside help and support. I found that working as a visitor for the Insurance Charities enabled me to see first-hand how such help is provided and be part of the process of ‘making things better’ through the giving of practical advice and financial support to recipients. We are the face of the charity, and the team in London are the ‘voice’.
Asking for help is the first, and often the most difficult step for someone in trouble. Once contact is made, either via London, or directly to you, as a visitor you employ many of the skills of a financial adviser, putting together a picture of the person by ‘fact-finding, and objectively commenting on their situation in a written report. This is then taken forward and decisions on what help might be given, and in what form are made by the IC Trustees. The process continues with further visits, reviews, and support. All cases are confidential, but over the years I have built up relationships with the people I have visited and looked forward to seeing them again… They say you get back what you put in, and this is definitely true of this role. It is not about being a ‘do-gooder’, but life-enhancing from all sides, and if you are interested, I recommend you get in touch with the team in London.”