See also…
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Volunteering

1 in 5 children in the UK are affected by their parents’ alcohol problems. Together we can make a difference and help them to know they are not alone.

When alcoholism is the family secret, people often believe that talking is being disloyal to their parents and try to hide their problems from the outside world. This can leave children feeling isolated and alone. Many alcohol services offer family programmes, but there are few services for the vastly greater number of children whose parents do not seek help or even acknowledge the problem. These children find themselves with no one to turn to.

Our free, confidential helpline provides information and ongoing support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking. We are here for children, young people, adults and concerned others and professionals alike.

Calls and emails are answered by a team of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers also help in many other ways such as fundraising and events, distributing leaflets and posters, public speaking, talking to the media, admin and IT.

Nacoa is funded entirely by voluntary donations. We simply couldn’t be here without the help of so many wonderful volunteers.

Watch our volunteering video filmed at Upfest to find out more about Nacoa and how you can help.

Get involved: with your help we can continue to provide a lifeline for children who are so often suffering in silence.

Helpline Counsellors

Role description

Helpline counsellors staff our free, confidential telephone and email helpline providing information, advice and ongoing support. Simply listening can help people to realise they are not alone and that their feelings are important. The helpline provides a space in which callers can work through problems and find ways to feel better. The role can be challenging, at times, but is immensely rewarding. Prior to commencing helpline work, volunteers must complete our foundation training programme which looks at alcoholism and how the family adapts, child protection and listening skills and is followed by a series of inductions and mentored shifts.

What's needed from you

You need to live in reach of our office in central Bristol and be able to commit to a minimum of 3 hours per week for at least one year. A passion to help others simply by being there is essential. Helpline volunteers are required to complete our foundation training programme which takes place over two months. Helpline volunteers are also required to attend monthly helpline meetings providing support and supervision and occasional ongoing training sessions. Helpline volunteers must be aged 18 or over.

Foundation training programme

For details of our next programme, see Foundation training programme schedule.

Helpline Researchers

Role description

Helpline researchers provide information and support by researching the specific requests or needs of helpline callers, and by sending out information packs. Helpline researchers also compile the Nacoa UK Resource Database of local and national organisations relevant to callers and assist with other projects such as sending information to schools. Prior to commencing helpline work, volunteers must complete our foundation training programme which looks at alcoholism and how the family adapts, child protection and listening skills and is followed by a series of inductions and mentored shifts.

What’s needed from you

You need to live in or around Bristol and be able to commit to a minimum of 3 hours per week for at least one year. Helpline volunteers are required to complete our foundation training programme which takes place over two months. Helpline volunteers are also required to attend monthly helpline meetings and occasional ongoing training sessions. Helpline volunteers must be aged 18 or over.

Foundation Training programme

For details of our next programme, see Foundation training programme schedule.

Speakers

Role description

Speakers deliver talks to other organisations throughout the UK, such as schools and youth clubs; raising awareness of our services and the effects of parental alcohol problems on children. We provide detailed information, handouts, visual aids and support. Prior to commencing this role, volunteers must complete our foundation training programme which looks at alcoholism and how the family adapts, child protection and listening skills.

What’s needed from you

Speaker volunteers are required to complete at least the three Saturday sessions of our foundation training programme held in Bristol. Self-motivation, flexibility and long-term commitment are essential for this role. Speaker volunteers must be aged 18 or over.

Foundation Training programme

For details of our next programme, see Foundation training programme schedule.

Events

We need people to help at a range of fundraising and awareness events such as Upfest (The Urban Paint Festival), COA Week (our annual awareness week), flea markets, information stands at conferences etc. We would circulate information about upcoming events and you let us know whether you can help on an event-by-event basis.

Fundraising

We are always looking for volunteers to organise activities, sponsored events etc. to help raise funds and awareness for Nacoa .This can be done as individuals or in groups across the UK. Nacoa is able to supply sponsorship forms and promotional materials (including T-shirts). For ideas see Fundraising.

Information sharing

We need help to distribute information and raise awareness of our services. If you know somewhere that could display one of our posters or leaflets (GP surgery, school, library, youth club, cafe etc.), please email us and we will happily send materials to you to distribute.

Media

We need volunteers to join our media panel of people who are happy to speak to the media about their experiences of their parents’ drinking (or their own), or their professional or volunteering experiences. This valuable work raises awareness of the problem and helps people realise they are not alone and there is help. We circulate requests for case studies when we receive them and you can choose if you wish to be involved.

Nacoa News

In Nacoa’s research, 45% of adult children surveyed in the UK said they would like to learn more about the problem and other people’s experiences. We produce a regular newsletter called Nacoa News for our members, which is written and edited by volunteers. We are always looking for articles, ideas etc. To look at previous editions, see Newsletter archive. If you wish to contribute, please email us.

Press-article clipping

We need help keeping us up-to-date with what’s going on in the national and local press. At Nacoa we have a library of information on all sorts of issues published in the press – alcohol abuse, drugs, parenting etc. if you see anything that you feel may be relevant to Nacoa’s work, we would be very grateful if you could cut it out and post the clipping to us or email us the link.

Research

We need volunteers to join our research panel and take part in Nacoa-initiated research and projects put forward by other agencies. Research projects contribute to the scientific literature on this topic, increasing understanding of the nature of this problem and what can help. This in turn influences policy and services. Sometimes participation can be done remotely, such as completing an online questionnaire or through a phone interview. The panel consists of people who have been affected by their parents’ drinking (or their own), and those who have not experienced this problem directly. You always have the right to say no to any project.

Sharing experience

We have many personal experiences on our website. Reading experiences of others affected by their parent’s drinking helps people to know they are not alone. If you would like to share your story for others to read, please email Hilary Henriques.

Website

We need help to ensure the information displayed on the site is up-to-date and links are working correctly. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email us.

How to apply

To become a volunteer please download and complete our volunteer application form

For more information about volunteering, please email us or call 0117 924 8005.

You may also be interested in becoming a member.

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