Expanding charity in bid for more volunteers

Jean Coates-Topping (formerly Jean Stitt, right) with local MPs Julie Hilling and Yvonne Forvague at Willow's 20th anniversary celebrations last year
Jean Coates-Topping (formerly Jean Stitt, right) with local MPs Julie Hilling and Yvonne Forvague at Willow's 20th anniversary celebrations last year
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A CHARITY which helps women with a drink problem is on the recruitment trail after expanding into Wigan.

The Willow Project has been a borough fixture for more than 20 years now, offering confidential support and advice to women both battling alcohol themselves and those who have concerns about a loved one’s drinking.

To date its base has been in Leigh with a regular drop-in session at Pemberton clinic too.

But now organisers have acquired an extra home in Wigan town centre to meet, they say, a “growing demand for their services.”

With the extra workload comes the need for extra staff and Willow today appealed for volunteers to come forward.

Service manager Jean Coates-Topping said: “We can offer some exciting opportunities to our volunteers.

“We are looking for volunteers who are able to offer a few hours a week in return Willow will provide opportunities to learn new skills by offering training and support.”

Roles can include reception duties, supporting women in a group setting or working with women on a one-to-one basis.

“This could involve carrying out assessments or providing advocacy to support women to resolve practical issues.”

One of Willow’s existing volunteers, called Jackie, contacted Willow two years ago after her daughter had gone away to college.

She said: “Suddenly I had a big hole in my life with this huge life change and was at a loss as to what to do. I was looking through the paper when I saw an article asking for volunteers for the Willow Project and decided to contact them.

“The new skills I have learnt have given me confidence to carry out my role as an advocate and being involved in Willow has given me a sense of purpose, put a structure in my life and the opportunity to meet new people.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or would like further information on the service can ring the information line on 01942 679300, e-mail mail@willowproject.com or write to the Willow Project, PO Box 8, Leigh WN7 1FB.