We are the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. Since 1962, we have been providing support, guidance and advice, as well as campaigning for improved rights, services and opportunities to help create a society that works for autistic people
All our volunteers must be a parent or primary carer of an autistic child or adult and need to be:
Good communicators, as the role involves providing emotional support over the phone, good listeners, understanding, open-minded and willing to learn.
Able to remain calm in stressful situations, respond sensitively to the emotional and practical content of the calls and emotionally ready to undertake this work to support other parents.
Self-motivated and able use their own initiative, able to organise, prioritise and manage their own time, reliable, consistent and dependable.
When and where
All volunteers will volunteer from their own homes and provide support to parents and carers across the UK. It is hoped that volunteers will be able to offer 2-3 hours per week to the service and will continue to volunteer for at least one year after initial training has been completed. Volunteers can choose when to make calls, either in the morning, afternoon or evening and can split their volunteering hours over a few days
Why we need you
“It was a relief to speak to someone who just got it. Speaking to A has just I guess made my heart feel less heavy”
Parent to Parent is the NAS’ award winning UK wide confidential emotional support service, provided over the phone by trained volunteers, who are all parents of autistic children and adults. The volunteers all have personal experience of autism and the impact it has on their own families. They are there to give parents and carers the opportunity to talk through any issues, feelings or problems they’re experiencing. They can suggest helpful strategies, signpost them to other sources of information and support, or just provide a non-judgmental listening ear.
What you will be doing
Calling parents and carers of autistic children and adults who have contacted the Parent to Parent Emotional Support Helpline
Providing emotional support and a non-judgemental listening ear to other parents and carers
Signposting parents, when appropriate, to information and advice services
Sending an email to parent callers, if appropriate, following their P2P call. This email will include: signposting information, links to relevant information sheets, a feedback form link etc.
Filling out a call sheet of basic information after every call, this information will then be passed promptly to the coordinator.
Some occasional travel to attend training and forums will be necessary.
Our training is currently made up of e-learning modules, a training manual to complete at home, and 2 online group training sessions. In addition, volunteers are also asked to attend twice yearly face to face forums and update training events, when needed.
Support and supervision
There is ongoing and active support and feedback from the service Coordinator and other members of the National Programmes team, when required.
All travel expenses to and from training and forums are refunded to volunteers by the NAS. The NAS will also pay for all Parent to Parent Emotional Support Helpline call costs.
What you could get out of it
As a volunteer for the Parent to Parent Emotional Support Helpline you will receive thorough training and be part of a UK wide team of parents and carers, who can share experience, support and learn from one another. Volunteering for the service can be very rewarding, one volunteer recently wrote “for anyone thinking they might be able to help families with children on the autism spectrum please contact the NAS, you’ll never look back! By giving a listening ear you can make a big difference to a family who might be going through their darkest days”.
We seek applications from anyone interested in the role, but particularly welcome applications from those on the autism spectrum.
Whilst we are able to make reasonable adjustments for volunteers you will need to be able to volunteer independently as we are not able to offer one to one support