Dec 16, 2015
Each year, the Colostomy Association receives over 3,000 calls to our helpline, sends out on average 20,000 leaflets and information packs to supporters and helps over 21,000 people living with a stoma. This incredible level of support is performed by a team of only six staff members.
Based at the Colostomy Association’s office in Reading, our admin volunteers ensure that many of our vital services remain accessible for anyone who needs them. Their work ranges from helping answer calls to researching information to help the Colostomy Association achieve its vision of a world where having a stoma is not a barrier to living a full and active life.
One of the valuable members of our admin volunteer team is Margaret Simister. Coming into the office each Friday, Margaret’s years of volunteering have hugely benefitted the Colostomy Association.
Margaret’s main duties are to help answer the telephone and relieve some of the pressure on our incredibly busy team of staff as well as calling individuals before or after stoma surgery. Margaret ensures that any important mailings are completed before the weekend as well as helping out with any other tasks she can.
The main challenges Margaret faces are keeping up to date with changes in technology; however, her extensive background as a secretary and manager enables Margaret to easily adapt to any developments.
Additionally, some of Margaret’s most difficult calls come from people who have other problems as well as their general stoma issues: “They may be disabled, depressed alone or in constant pain. Sometimes, unfortunately, it can be all of those things. It is quite humbling the way some people cope.”
However, for Margaret the best experiences have been when she feels she has helped change someone’s life for the better. Speaking about her favourite moments, Margaret said: “the most enjoyable experiences have been when I truly feel I have helped someone on the phone. This can often be something very simple but can make a huge difference to them.”
The Colostomy Association continues to grow and develop new initiatives and ways of assisting everyone in the UK living with a stoma. However, it is only thanks to our team of dedicated admin volunteers working behind the scenes that we are able to achieve so much.
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