Balancing a busy life with volunteering

Balancing a busy life with volunteering


Balancing being a parent, working full-time for Thames Valley Police, and volunteering as a Special Constable might seem like a huge challenge, but it’s one that Ani, with the help of the TVP’s Employer Supported Policing policy, meets head on.


What do you do in your day job?

I’m a Resilience Support Officer working for Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum.


And besides volunteering as a Special outside of your day job, what’s your life like?

My life can be quite busy! I enjoy training. I have a son who’s five and a half, and I do all the school runs in the morning, all the happy cooking and sometimes I enjoy going to a bachata class.


Why did you decide to apply to be a Special?

I’m a people person – I love working with people! You can support somebody and make a difference, and it can give you a great feeling. It makes me proud to be out there and to play a part in supporting our communities.


What was the training like?

Training was really intense. When I arrived at the training centre I thought “how on earth am I going to go through that program learning about legislation” – but then slowly but surely, with such a professional team that deliver the training, we were able to learn everything. My favourite part was attending officer safety training where we learnt how to keep ourselves safe.


What is it like balancing your personal and professional life with being a volunteer?

It’s a great balance – I actually find it quite easy to juggle everything. The Employer Support Policing (ESP) policy is really helpful, where you can take extra time off your day job to attend your duties.


Do you remember what it felt like going out on your first shift?

My first duty was quite busy. We attended a couple of incidents, and I felt like I stood back a little bit as I was still building my confidence. But I remember it was very rewarding – it felt great to be able to support my colleagues.


And now that you’ve got more experience are you more confident to stepping forward?

I do step forward more compared to before. I feel much more confident because of my experiences throughout the time I’ve been a Special. I also feel the training provided is good because it gives you more skill and you feel like part of the team. Working with your colleagues gives you that sense of safety that we’ve got each other’s backs.


Are there skills that you bring into being a special that a typical officer might not have?

Yes! I can speak another language and often if I’m on duty and there’s a support needed, I  feel privileged to be able to support that other national who cannot speak English. But also, I feel like there’s more skills that I can bring from being a parent too, like being a therapist where you have to calm somebody down, or when someone is in distress. You find that your colleagues appreciate that ability that you bring to the role.


Have you been to any big events?

We tend to go to football matches and we take part in big operations like the King’s Coronation. My favourite event is Royal Ascot where we’re able to engage with glamorous looking people attending the event.


What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering as a Special Constable?

If you would like to apply to be a Special Constable then it is definitely going to give you rewards. Being out there with people who need support and help, no matter how big or small is vital.


Learn more about volunteering as a Special Constable by visiting our Special Constables webpage.