Volunteering as a Women's Mentor
Helen Cullen, Volunteer Mentor.
Helen began looking for volunteering opportunities after retiring, having worked for 23 years in the addictions sector. She worked for five years at Barlinnie prison in the first statutory addiction service within a penal establishment in Europe and was instrumental in setting up an addiction service in Shotts prison. Helen also worked for more than 20 years with North Lanarkshire Council.
As Helen says, “When I retired I knew that I still had a lot to offer. I enjoy being active and also enjoy interacting with people, so decided that volunteering was a good way to meet new people and use the skills I have.”
Helen has been volunteering with Sacro in Lanarkshire since September 2012. As a volunteer with the Women’s Mentoring Service, she delivers one to one and group sessions of complimentary therapies which are very beneficial to many service users, especially to reduce stress and curb cravings. The therapies delivered by Helen are auricular acupuncture (also known as acudetox acupuncture), reiki and guided meditation. She will shortly start delivering a six week course to service users on the benefits of “mindfulness”.
Talking about her volunteer experience, Helen says that “even though some of our service users have endured awful experiences they still are able to laugh and see the funny side of most situations”.
Helen works with Sacro's Women's Mentoring Service in Lanarkshire and the Shine Women's Mentoring Service; a public social partnership delivering mentoring support nationally to women in the criminal justice system.