Monday, 26 January 2015
My experience volunteering for TAMBA Helping Hands
Qualified Norland Nanny Ishbel has volunteered her time to support several families of multiples through the TAMBA Helping Hands Appeal. We asked Ishbel to talk us through her experience to find out exactly what it was like:
How many TAMBA families have you volunteered for and what were the family needs?
I first started volunteering for TAMBA in 2012. I have helped 4 families in need, 3 of which had triplets and one which had quadruplets. Each family had different needs, but every family has required support and knowledge to help them in coping with a very daunting situation.
How much time did you spend with each family? How has it fitted in around your job?
I have spent a varied amount of time with each family, ranging from 4 nights to 4 weeks. The first set of triplets required night nannying as they had help in the day, where as all the others needed daily help. I enjoyed both aspects as I had not done night nannying before.
The reason I have been able to do as much volunteering as I have because I have done it in between jobs, and have therefore been able to treat it as another working position. It is however something you could do over the weekend as any help is greatly received by all of these families.
How did you feel before going into the first family?
The first family I went into, I was TERRIFIED! I hadn't worked with newborns since leaving college and I was nervous I had forgotten all I had learnt. I hadn't of course, as Norlanders we all know how much the Norland training is drummed in and it all soon came flooding back. I don't know why I was so scared!
How did the family respond to having you come in to help?
All the families I have worked with have been sincerely grateful. Sometimes, as a nanny, when we have worked with families for a long time, even though we know that we are appreciated expressing that appreciation can easily be overlooked, but I can assure you that going in to help one of these families will remind you why you went to Norland and why we do what we do. I can't describe the bond between multiples, and the more there are, the more incredible it gets. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how amazing these families are.
Were you faced with anything you couldn’t cope with?
I have to say, when you have 3 babies crying all at the same time, it can sometimes be quite overwhelming. The more you do, the more you realise that you only have one set of hands and actually the babies do learn to wait. This is an important fact that you need to reassure the parents with as they often feel bad for not having enough time. With a 'get stuck in' attitude, there shouldn't be anything that a Norlander can't deal with.
Did TAMBA support you whilst volunteering?
TAMBA are fantastic. They are a wonderful team of friendly people and have been extremely supportive whenever I have been in place with one of their crisis families. They are very efficient in answering the phone and emails and I have always found it really easy to work with them.
What did you get out of the experience?
The main thing for me was understanding actually just how much of an impact you can have on these families lives. They rely on your knowledge and expertise to get them through what some would describe as 'dark days' and just having someone there to help and talk to can make the world's biggest difference. Not only have I furthered my own knowledge and experience but after being fortunate enough to be put through the Norland training, I now feel I have given something back.
Would you recommend volunteering to other Norlanders?
I would 100% recommend doing some volunteering. If you had told me 3 years ago I would have helped four multiples families I probably would have laughed. It really does get easier the more you do and you'll be amazed at what you can do and the difference you can make. It is extremely rewarding and you may just meet some life long friends...I have!
Even if you think you are not up to physically working with the babies, you can help in so many other ways. Raising money for the charity can then help some of these families to either pay for extra help, or buy equipment that they so desperately need. Any help is so much appreciated.
What advice would you give to a Norlander thinking of volunteering?
The advice I would give to any Norlander is to no
t think about it too much. You will be so hands on from the minute you walk in that you will not have time to worry. It really is fantastic and you won't experience anything like it. Go for it and see how much of a difference you can make!
If you are a Norland graduate and are interested in volunteering to support TAMBA Helping Hands Appeal and helping families with multiples in desperate need of some support please contact Norland Agency on 01225 90 40 30 or log onto the Jobshop to see the voluntary positions we have right now.