Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care Helpline

Telephone Helpline Volunteer



1. As a volunteer with SDAC, you will be responsible for working one 3 hour shift per week, if possible, or one shift per fortnight and working a night shift once every two months.

2. At the beginning of each shift the SDAC helpline number is transferred to a phone provided and paid for by yourself, either landline or mobile, using Call Handling Virtual Call Centre (VCC) software. There is no cost incurred by the volunteer or caller.

3. Answer voice calls, SMS and webchats from service users.

4. To ensure you are available for the duration of the shift, unless previously agreed otherwise. If you have an emergency and need to end your shift early, you must contact the SDAC Receptionist immediately.

5. To work in a quiet space, where calls can be taken without distraction or intrusive noise and without another person present.

6. To always act in a professional manner as a representative of SDAC.

7. To support callers; those with substance misuse, or those with mild to moderate mental health issues, their friends and family.

8. To offer advice, information, harm minimisation techniques, guidance on helpful techniques for difficulties experienced by the caller, know when to signpost to emergency services, signposting to relevant services or organsations and refer into treatment as appropriate.

9. After each call you will complete Survey Monkey.

10. If you have referred a client into treatment, you will immediately complete the online referral form or call the SDAC Receptionist with the relevant information if you do not have access to the internet.

11. At the beginning and end of your shift, you will complete a handover with another volunteer, offering support if necessary. Sharing your experience of your shift creates a strong and supportive team, particularly important due to isolated working.

12. If you have a difficult call and having talked it through at handover are struggling with overwhelming thoughts or feelings, you will call a Dedicated Peer Support Volunteer (DPSV).

13. You will be supported by your colleagues, DPSV, Helpline Coordinator and the Board in your role.

14. To be aware of safeguarding issues for children and vulnerable adults whilst working on the helpline and understand the SDAC reporting processes.

15. To follow all SDAC policies including Data Protection and Confidentiality.

16. To be aware of health and safety issues whilst working on the helpline.

17. To attend mandatory training, CPD events, AGM or other meetings/events as appropriate.




Personal Qualities:

Ability to relate with empathy to callers i.e. users, carers and significant others on issues relating to drug and alcohol misuse or mild to moderate mental health.


Ability to work alone from their own base.


Ability to handle complex calls robustly Training: Commitment to complete SDAC’s initial training programme (all held on Saturdays) and to attend additional training sessions and meetings, as required Experience / Skills: SDAC positively encourages volunteers from a diversity of backgrounds. We seek people who have:

Good listening skills.

Good communication skills.

Good time management i.e. to consider shift commitment.

Good team player.

A calm, patient and professional manner.

Basic IT skills – able to send and receive email, work with VCC software and access the internet for research.

Understanding of the importance of confidentiality.

Understanding of the importance of maintaining personal and professional boundaries.


For further information or an informal chat, please fill in an application form.

Mission Statement

Surrey Drug & Alcohol Care is a registered charity which has been set up as a result of a need in the county of Surrey for a confidential Freephone help line for substance misusers and those with mild to moderate mental health problems, their families, friends and colleagues, aiming to make a difference to their lives. Trained volunteers respond to the distress caused by substance misuse or mental health on a high quality help line that is accessible, Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm, emphasising empowerment and self-help.


  • To provide information about county and countrywide resources and support to persons and organisations helping people experiencing the effects of substance misuse.
  • To promote mental health well being county-wide.
  • To promote, liaise and exchange information with relevant agencies both within the Surrey area and outside.
  • To raise public awareness of the continuing impact of substance misuse.
  • To advance the education of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol amongst those young students in full time education in Surrey and professional groups.
  • Website: