Opinions

Volunteering at The Spark

Written by: Jane Ankori, ALISS team, the ALLIANCE

Published: 10/10/2014

Jane Ankori on spending Self Management Week volunteering at The Spark.

With self management week just beginning, I headed off to The Spark centre in Glasgow; one of 17 regional centres across Scotland, working to provide face to face, telephone and online relationship support and training.

I received a warm welcome and on individually meeting the team, learned about the wide ranging work they are doing – from relationship counselling for individuals, couples and families, to work within primary and secondary schools, helping young people to develop essential relationship skills. For the work with school pupils and leavers, it made sense to me that relationship skills are key not only to health and wellbeing but to future success in the world of further education and employment.

I was particularly impressed by their use of technology to increase access to support:  they not only operate a helpline and provide face to face support, but also offer online counselling / chat – making it easier for people to access support whenever and wherever they are.

Joining their weekly scone time, which allows staff an opportunity to catch up and offer each other some support, I learned that the organisation also offers training for professionals and I was invited to attend one of their ‘relationship first aid courses’ which I’m really looking forward to.

The day went by really quickly, and as I was leaving I found myself wondering why relationship skills training and support are not more part of our everyday lives. Perhaps they should be.

I would like to thank the team at The Spark Glasgow for their warm welcome, kindness and generosity.

If you would like to know more about The Spark see www.thespark.org.uk. If you would like support, the relationship helpline is 0808 802 2088 or an appointment can be made by calling 0845 271 2711.

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