Approximately 30 people attended our second Volunteer Day at the Balmain Marine Area Command, including NSW Police Legacy and AFP Legacy staff, BACKUP for Life mentors, and NSWPL volunteers.
Community Support Manger Karen Murphy gave us an overview of NSWPL, and the way that the organisation grown and developed over the years, trying always to be responsive to the ever-changing world around us. Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator Julia Ridulfo took us through the importance of marketing the work we do – both to our ‘internal’ audience of the NSW Police Force, and to the wider community – and the complexities of fundraising. It’s only been since 2013 that our constitutional change has allowed us to facilitate fundraising events for individuals/families/Police Area Commands, but we have certainly helped a lot of people in that time!
Leisa Doherty, Community Support Officer, then took us on a more personal ‘tour’ of our Police Legatee family, reminding us that with nearly 1200 Police Legatees but only three people working in the Community Support team, it becomes all the more vital to us to have volunteers on the ground who can let us know when people are in need of support. The “welfare checks” may sound abstract, but they’re so important, and so personal – they mean a lot to the people who receive them
Esther Mckay, Project Coordinator for BACKUP for Life, reiterated the importance of volunteers to our programs. With BACKUP for Life (and all its associated workshops, counselling sessions, and mentoring) growing all the time, all around the State, it becomes even more important to us to have engaged, active, willing volunteers.
In the afternoon, Liz Mann and Scott Andrews from the National Centre for Childhood Grief (NCCG) took us through an informative and emotional session on grief and bereavement, moving from the specific ways they work with children/parents who have lost parents or partners, to the ways that all of us are affected by grief, and how we can better help those around us who are grieving. The Centre is especially good at helping kids simply be in a space with others who will truly be able to empathise with them; what it means to have had a parent die.
We also learned about stages of grief, and the heavy truth that is so important to remember – that grief can last a lifetime. That you may never ‘get over’ the loss of a parent, a child, a partner, but that things will certainly get easier, and you will learn to live with this grief. And that a huge part of learning to live with this pain is having others acknowledge that pain, even if that is “all” they can do. The NCCG provides free service for children aged 3-18. Find more details at the NCCG website.