A Day in the life of a FMA UK Helpline Volunteer

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helpline What follows is a day in the life of a FMA UK Helpline volunteer. These are the people on the other end of the phone when you perhaps need some help on the phone. They all suffer with FM as well and get a lot out of providing this service.

Working on the FMA UK helpline is certainly a varied and rewarding experience. For me, I am glad to play my part in helping other people with FM by simply listening to them and letting them know that I understand what they are going through.

The calls can be very varied from people simply phoning to find out if there is a group near them or to place an order when the office is closed, to people who are newly diagnosed and scared because they have been told they have a chronic illness, with no cure and don't know anything about it.

Its good to talk

At times people are upset but they always say that they feel better for talking to someone and there is always something you can say that will be helpful to them. The majority of people are so relieved to talk about how FM affects them because their friends and family don't understand. I can hear the relief in their voices and by the time we say goodbye they sound totally different. That is very rewarding because I know that I have made a difference.

People phone from all over Great Britain. Most of them are woman who have FM, but we do receive calls from some men either because they have FM or their wives do. I always encourage people to take charge: I tell them you have fibromyalgia, it doesn't have you and they need to learn all they can about FM and what they can do to help themselves.

When it is my day to be on the helpline I always make sure I get up in plenty of time to have breakfast, take pills, wash and dress, so I am ready to sign on at the right time. I have everything I will need on the table in front of me and make sure that I have plenty of telephone answering sheets ready as you never know how many calls you will have. Sometimes I may just get two or three calls, but when there is an article in the paper or a magazine or an item on TV the helpline can be inundated.

We always need more volunteers
FMA UK is always glad of new helpline volunteers, if it's something you have thought about doing, ask yourself why not? You don't need to have a clear head, if you did none of us could do it! We have all the information we need in a comprehensive binder, with clear indication where everything is so you can locate it easily while chatting to someone. FMA UK also provides you with a headset so you don't have to worry about aching wrists and shoulders from having to hold the phone for long periods of time.

Personally, I think it's a good idea to do a telephone helpline course before you start, especially if you don't have any previous experience. It only takes one day and goes through the various scenarios you may encounter and how to cope with a difficult call, for example. I found it gave me so much more confidence and made me feel I was doing a professional job.

I usually do three or four half days (4 hours) a month, but you can do as little or as much as you like. There are of course some days when I am feeling rough and really don't want to get out of bed, but I am always glad I have done my stint on the helpline as talking to others usually makes me feel so much better too. If you want to make a difference, help others with FM and also feel good about yourself think about becoming a helpline volunteer.

For more information on becoming a FMA UK helpline volunteer please contact the Head Office for more information.

There are some links to file that may be of interest if you would like to help out the charity in this essential role. Also people would need to fill out our Confidentiality Policy and of course any expenses are covered by our Expenses Policy


Download this file (Job_Description - National Helpline.pdf)Helpline Volunteer Role Description[Gives an idea of what is involved and required]320 kB
Download this file (What are the tasks of a helpline volunteer.pdf)Tasks of a helpline volunteer[Shows the typical tasks of a helpline volunteer]436 kB

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