A day in the life…What’s involved in being a Welfare Volunteer?

I became an welfare volunteer for Newstraid in 1999 when I took over my father’s beneficiaries and joined the North West Area Committee.

During that time, I have been involved with over 60 beneficiaries and currently look after 12, 6 on regular benefit (receiving 3 payments a year) and 6 who only receive a grant at Christmas.

I’ve always valued the advice and support from Head Office, who do a tremendous job helping people from the newspaper industry who have fallen on hard times.

Following an initial visit to a new applicant, a welfare volunteer sends a report with his recommendations to the Welfare team which is then presented to the Welfare Committee for consideration.

If the applicant is successful, the welfare volunteer adds them to his or her group of beneficiaries and supports them with regular contact and visits.

Head Office expects each regular beneficiary to receive at least 1 visit or call a year and at least one visit to each Christmas only beneficiary.

Besides regular benefit, NewstrAid can also help with one off ‘Samaritan Grants’. These are in the moment grants for essential items such as a new washing machine or to cover the cost of some home repairs. More recently the Samaritan grants have also provided support with energy bills and helped when people are struggling due to the cost of living crisis.

Whatever help the Charity gives is always appreciated and can make a huge difference to a beneficiary’s quality of life.

I’ve been visiting most of my current beneficiaries for many years and like to think that they look forward to seeing me as much as I do seeing them.

Some are a little reluctant to let you know if they have a problem and there’s more chance of finding out if something isn’t right with a face to face visit rather than a telephone call.

On saying that each beneficiary is different, with some I can be in and out in 15 minutes while with others, I can enjoy most of a morning or afternoon chatting.

Being able to make a difference has given me lots of pleasure and satisfaction during my 24 years as a welfare volunteer and if you think the role could suit you, I would certainly recommend having a try.


Alan Pemberton

NewstrAid Welfare Volunteer