There are a wide range of opportunities for volunteers across STARS. Whatever your motivation you will find that volunteering for STARS is both challenging and rewarding. We will endeavour to find a role to suit your interest, experience and the time you have available.
Volunteers make a huge difference to our vital work and help us to reach out to more and more people each year. As the leading resource for support and information for both patients and medical professionals on syncope and Reflex Anoxic Seizures, STARS is committed to providing the best possible service and prides itself on its volunteers’ contribution.
Volunteers can get involved across the UK, organising an awareness event, fundraising or even supporting specific schemes such as the ‘Shine a Light on Education’ programme. Similarly, if you have a particular interest in helping our senior citizens then our 'Syncope and Falls in the Elderly (SaFE)' project may be something you would like to make a contribution towards. We provide materials such as leaflets, posters, bookmarks which you can distribute and balloons, t-shirts and collection tins which can aid you in promoting STARS.
What projects can I get involved in for STARS?
The ‘Shine a Light on Education’ programme aims to educate teachers, staff and carers on syncope and to train them in condition management. 'The Shine a light on Education' programme provides information and advice for parents and children on how to cope with Reflex Anoxic Seizures or Syncope in their learning environment. Across the UK, educational establishments, carers and pupils diagnosed with syncope continue to contact STARS for information and guidance.
The ‘Syncope and Falls in the Elderly’ (SaFE) project is STARS latest endeavour and is concerned with syncope in older adults. SaFE aims to promote accurate diagnosis and treatment of syncope and raise awareness of its link to falls in older adults. If more people are made aware of the link between syncope (blackouts) and falls, the root cause could be treated and recurring falls prevented.
What volunteer activities are available at STARS?
- During awareness campaigns volunteers can raise awareness by distributing information and promotional materials on behalf of STARS. Simply ‘Post a Poster’ or ‘Leave a Leaflet’.
- Promote awareness of STARS at local events, perhaps sell some STARS teddies or wristbands!
- Keep an eye on local news or newspapers, you could distribute STARS information resources and sign post those in need to STARS.
Inspiring stories from our STARS Volunteers
Julie Fear and Family
As a family we have been actively volunteering for STARS since 2003 and Andrew, my husband, is also a STARS Trustee. There are many ways in which we have volunteered, fundraised and supported STARS over the last few years. We have raised awareness for STARS during Arrhythmia Awareness Week by holding displays and distributing information and materials on Reflex Anoxic Seizures (RAS) and Syncope, putting up posters in libraries and GP surgeries and encouraging fundraising and fun events at the college where I work. Each year, my parents, Andrew and I offer to help at STARS biggest event of the year, Patients Day at the Heart Rhythm Congress.
My family and I have also been willing to raise awareness of Syncope and RAS by highlighting our personal stories to the press for STARS. Volunteering for STARS can be as simple as organising a non-school uniform day at your local school. There are just so many ways to get involved and raise awareness of what can be a debilitating condition.
“In 2007 I read in a STARS newsletter that they were looking for volunteers for a new position: that of STARS Information Representative (SIR), someone with experience in teaching and, more importantly, someone with an insight into the conditions of RAS and VVS. There was a need for STARS representatives to attend schools, colleges and Universities who had requested information and support on RAS or VVS.
Having been supported so wonderfully by STARS, I was keen to give back some support to the team and do whatever I was able to do to help. Being an STARS SIR seemed to be just that: I had suffered RAS as a child and continue to suffer with it, my youngest daughter has RAS; and I have worked in education. Whilst I was a little rusty, standing up in front of an audience was not new to me and I felt comfortable with the idea. I therefore filled in a form and was invited to attend an SIR training day in November 2007, which was great fun and very enlightening. Following a successful CRB check, I made my first SIR visit to a primary level school in December 2007….so the need really is there!
What I find so rewarding is that simply by communicating my experience and knowledge of the issues in a structured and informative way, taking perhaps only an hour to do so, I am able to transform the attitudes and confidence levels of the staff and so promote the inclusion of another RAS child in normal school life. Many schools have given encouraging feedback that tells both the STARS team and me that I am actually making a difference to their lives. It is so simple: try it and you will see!”
"I began volunteering for STARS after my younger son was diagnosed with RAS. I had skills in journalism and PR that I wasn't using because I was at home with the children. Helping STARS was a great way of keeping up my skills. I edited STARS' newsletter, their website and helped run the Public Relations for the first few AAAW campaigns that helped change the NSF on Coronary care. It was a great experience and I got plenty of satisfaction as well as improving my CV. In fact, I've now started my own business because I was able to keep up to date and keep up my contacts. Volunteering is worthwhile on so many levels. As well as helping your favourite charity, you get a confidence boost and something other than your own troubles to focus on."