What our volunteers say

Dawn's story

Dawn Hazell joined us as a Family Support Services Counsellor volunteer in 2017 when she was seeking voluntary placement hours. Dawn has a background in nursing and midwifery and is the wife of a minister, and she was drawn to Rennie Grove when she participated in fundraising walks and events such as Light up a Life. Dawn was delighted when she was offered her student placement at Rennie Grove in the final year of her Level 4 diploma in therapeutic counselling at Amersham and Wycombe College.

As a supportive, empathetic, kind and caring individual possessing excellent listening skills, Dawn was a natural fit in a voluntary counselling role at our charity.

Up until the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dawn provided counselling to carers, bereaved clients and patients with a life-limiting illness in their own ho​mes.  But during the pandemic, our volunteer counsellors adapted their services to comply with the restrictions in place.

Dawn said: “With home visits to my clients not always possible during the pandemic, I was delighted to be able to continue to provide counselling either by telephone, virtually on Zoom or - with one particular client - we would meet up on a walk and talk”.

Dawn would highly recommend volunteering as a counsellor with the family support team. She said: “When I first started volunteering my manager, Debbie, referred clients who were struggling with bereavement. Once I felt comfortable she then moved me gradually towards the more challenging aspect of my work, counselling patients with a life-limiting illness or their carers”.

Dawn continued: “Debbie always checked in with me to make sure I was comfortable with the work and if ever I was worried about a client or situation either she or my supervisor, Gill, was always available to talk this through”.

Dawn feels privileged to have ‘walked beside people with a life-limiting illness' and sees her work as a wonderful opportunity to help those that need specialist counselling support. Currently Dawn supports three clients a week.

She also finds that our regular supervision gives her the opportunity to make new friends with her peers and develop support. This regular supervision is part of the voluntary commitment of a volunteer counsellor, and helps garner the support and encouragement that our volunteer counsellors need to look after each other and their case load.

If you would like to join us as a counsellor volunteer, call 01442 890222, email  volunteer@renniegrove.org or fill in our volunteer inquiry form. You can find out more about the role here