Volunteer Helpline Counsellor

NACOA (The National Association for Children of Alcoholics)

Name: Volunteer Helpline Counsellor
Organisation: NACOA (The National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
Location: Nacoa, c/o Windmill Hill City Farm, Phillip Street, Bedminster, Bristol, Avon, BS3 4EA


Helpline counsellors staff our free, confidential telephone and email helpline providing information, advice and ongoing support for people affected by parental drinking.

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 alcohol dependency and how the family adapts, child protection and listening skills and is followed by a series of inductions and mentored shifts.

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Organisation Description

Nacoa was founded in 1990 to address the needs of children growing up in families where one or both parents suffer from alcoholism or a similar addictive problem. This includes children of all ages, many of whose problems only become apparent in adulthood. Since 1990 we’ve responded to over 330,000 requests for help via our free and confidential telephone and email helpline. We also offer information packs, resources, publications and talks to schools and other professionals. Nacoa also leads the annual awareness campaign “Children of Alcoholics Week”.
Nacoa has four broad aims:
1. To offer information, advice and support to children of alcohol-dependent parents
2. To reach professionals who work with them
3. To raise their profile in the public consciousness
4. To promote research into the problems they face and the prevention of alcoholism developing in this vulnerable group.

Nacoa is a member of the Helplines Partnership, which ensures we have suitable policies and procedures in place.


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Cause / Interests

  • Children
  • Drugs and Addictions
  • Elderly
  • Families
  • Mental Health
  • Youth

Types of Activity

  • Advice, Information and Support
  • Counselling

Skills and Qualifications


You need to be able to travel to our office in Bedminster, Bristol.

A passion to help others simply by being here for our callers is essential.

An ability to listen.

Helpline volunteers are required to complete our foundation training programme. For more information regarding the training programme please email admin@nacoa.org.uk or visit nacoa.org.uk.

Helpline volunteers are encouraged to attend our monthly helpline meetings providing support and supervision and to attend occasional ongoing training sessions.

Helpline volunteers must be aged 18 or over.


Listening skills


Team work

Talking to others

An understanding of alcohol dependency, co-dependency, the complexities of how families adapt to alcohol, child protection

Learning to enjoy silence and looking at self awareness

Additional/Specific Suitabilities

Minimum Age: 18
Maximum Age: NA
Disabled Access: No
Wheelchair Access: No
Expenses: Expenses paid
Restrictions: NA
Induction: Induction period
Insurance Cover: Insurance
Special Needs: NA
Offer: NA
Training: Training 8th and 29th March and 5th April, all 12.00 - 6.00pm
Other: NA

Recruitment Method

Application form, Other