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Saving lives, supporting families

Why they do it...

1st June 2017

Most of us have hit a tricky parenting patch, whether brought on by the neonatal rollercoaster, dealing with crying babies, or toddler (or teenage) tantrums. The good news is that no one need face these alone - because of Twinline, Tamba’s freephone listening service.

Twinline exists to offer a non-judgemental ear to parents at all stages of their children’s lives. And it is staffed by volunteers who understand the unique challenges (and joys) of bringing up multiples because they are themselves parents of twins, triplets and more.

Zoe Sands became a volunteer Tamba listener seven years ago when her then five-year-old twins started school. ‘I was a policeofficer and working part-time,’ she said, ‘but due to the expense and lack of child care I was only working 12 hours a week. From being very busy with the boys at home, I found I had time on my hands. ‘By chance I was having coffee with another twin mum and she mentioned she volunteered for Tamba as a listener. I looked into it and felt it was something I could do.'

Zoe soon got under way, volunteering a few hours of her day, every other week. She told us:It sounds cliché, but I feel like I am giving something back. As a twin mum, sometimes you can feel alone and isolated.For someone to be able to pick up the phone and realise they’re not alone, I think it’s great. Twinline makes me feel I am doing a worthwhile job, and sometimes as a mum of three you forget that. If I have helped, reassured or just been a listening ear to one person, that’s worth it.'

Melanie Warburton began volunteering with Twinline in 2015. She told us: ‘Every Twinline shift is different, but every caller requires the same: someone who will listen. When callers tell me they feel like they have found a solution or a way forward, I feel really happy I was able to help. Being a volunteer with Tamba gives me the sense of being part of a team, working together for our multiples community.’

Another of our listeners, Rosie Palmer, decided to volunteer when her girls were 16months old. She had called Twinline herself in the early days, so knew what a difference it could make. ‘I’d found it so comforting to talk through all my concerns with someone who calmly listened and reassured me that I was not alone. I thought that it would be a good thing if I could do the same for another worried parent.’

As Rosie was not going back to work, she also found that volunteering gave her more variety in the day. ‘The hours suit me perfectly,’ said Rosie. ‘I can’t do the daytime shift but I can get the girls tucked into bed for 7pm and log on from home. And now they sleep through the night I can stay up until 10pm!’

Tamba provides all new listeners with a training day at HQ in Aldershot. ‘I was so nervous about answering calls for the firsttime,’ said Rosie, ‘but once I realised that I wasn’t supposed to know it all, and all I did need to know was how to really listen to someone, I began to enjoy it.

It’s a great feeling to know that not only are you offering reassurance, but you are also helping parents and carers access all sorts of support and resources they might not have known existed. Going through my file and learning about all the sources of help and advice out there made me wish I had called Twinline more often!'

If you might be interested in volunteering with Twinline, please email louisebowman@tamba.org.uk

Twinline is open everyday from 10am to 1pm and from 7pm to 10pm on freephone: 0800 138 0509

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