My name is Lynne. Originally from Hull, I have moved around a bit but came to Sheffield 9 years ago after deciding to leave London for family reasons. I’ve always had unfulfilling retail jobs up until 3 years ago when I was fired from my retail job for not hitting targets. Many factors were involved, including both my children being diagnosed as disabled (son has ASD and severe Asthma and my daughter type 1 Diabetes). This is where I had a change of career and started to learn British Sign Language; I am currently on my 3rd level and hoping to complete in July this year.

After deciding on a career in counselling and possible future of counselling for the deaf and disabled, I wanted to help and give back something so I started looking for volunteer work along the lines of counselling. I happened to come across the BTA helpline volunteer role on the volunteering website given to me by Circle in Sheffield town centre. I believe I was very lucky, as it was my first choice and was exactly what I wanted and felt I needed to help myself and my future career prospects, along with helping others.

I enjoy it immensely. I feel that even if I just help one person on one phone call then I’ve made a difference. And as I am currently a stay at home mother while I am learning, it gives me something to look forward to.

The people here are fantastic and extremely helpful, and although I am only here for a few hours a week I really feel welcomed and part of something. They have also been very supportive in helping me understand the caller with Tinnitus counselling training, where I got to mix and interact with many people in the field and open my mind to new ways of interacting with the person at the other end of the phone; this shows that they really care.

I hope in the future that alongside my counselling training I can continue with the BTA as I learn something new every time I’m here just by speaking with and helping people over the phone. I want to be able to give back in the same way the BTA has helped me.