"As an organisation that relies on dedicated volunteers to run the service, we value the time that our volunteers spend at DRCS, supporting women who have experienced sexual violence. But we also appreciate there will be an ever-changing volunteer base as lives change and evolve.
Our organisation is relatively young and the three workers who were employed in mid-2011 to set up the service are still here, as are a few of the original volunteers that we trained in September 2011. It was both an exciting and daunting time for us, as we all learnt and developed together, supporting and motivating each other along the way. Up until now, we have been lucky enough to still have three of the "first wavers", as we affectionately call them, however I recently received the sad news that Hannah, who was our youngest volunteer, is leaving us for pastures new.
Hannah was a university student when she started the training and finished her degree last summer, so we are lucky to have kept her for as long as we have! I think that the trustees, staff and volunteers will all agree that Hannah has touched all of our lives, as well as those of the women who have accessed the service for support.
What can I say about Hannah? She has an incredible passion for the DRCS's work, she is dedicated and committed, she has a gentle and warm nature and a real connection with those who she comes into contact with. Even when Hannah joined our organisation at the ripe old age of 20 years old, she had already been volunteering at Childline and continues to strongly support young people as well as those who may need support with mental health issues. She is also incredibly talented in so many ways, and modest with it, she's a musician, an excellent baker (Gin and Tonic cake-tastic!) and has talented dress-making skills too!
Hannah really threw herself into work at DRCS, not only supporting women on our helpline and through our email support service, but also providing regular one to one emotional support and advocacy for women. If that wasn't enough, she has also been heavily involved in the events and campaigns run by DRCS, such as awareness raising at Exeter University, Reclaim the Night, International Women's Day and the Respect Festival. Hannah was also nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award last year with the Devon Community Foundation and won her category, which was "Keeping People Safe and Well".
Hannah will be sorely missed and we wish her well with all her future plans. I'm sure it won't be the last that we hear of this amazing young woman."
Blog by Anna Janota, Volunteer Co-ordinator