Volunteering with Amma Birth Companions is an incredible way to support women and birthing people who would otherwise give birth alone. We provide care, information, and advocacy to ensure parents experiencing multiple disadvantages can give birth and parent safely and with dignity.
Amma offers a completely unique doula training. In addition to learning about birth and the postpartum period, our volunteers are taught how to provide culturally safe, trauma informed care and advocacy.
We greatly value the contributions of our volunteers, who make our work possible. This is why we invest an enormous amount of time and effort into each volunteer. We aim to promote and nurture volunteer wellbeing through the support of a dedicated volunteer manager and regular peer support meetings facilitated by a mental health professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our clients include refugees, people seeking asylum, survivors of human trafficking, and other birthing people experiencing multiple disadvantages.
We have a few different volunteer roles at Amma. Each role provides invaluable support to our clients and every single one of our volunteers enrich the organisation as whole. Please read through these in-depth descriptions of each role to learn more about the time commitment and roles themselves:
- Pregnancy and Birth Companion: In-person support during later stages of pregnancy and during the birth (on-call commitment)
- Birth Companion: In-person support meeting the client just prior to and during birth. (on-call commitment)
- Postnatal Companion: In-person support for the first few weeks following birth (somewhat able to plan around your schedule)
- Parent Supporter: An ad hoc role that supports the team with different tasks during our clients’ birthing journey (able to work within your schedule)
- Delivery Driver: An ad hoc role supporting the team by delivering items to clients
- Language Supporter: Interpreting support for clients who do not speak English
Our volunteers come from all walks and stages of life and that’s what makes the team so great! We do ask that our volunteers:
- Can speak, read and write English to a good standard
- Live within (or can easily commute to) Glasgow
- Have the time to dedicate to both training and volunteering
- Can work and communicate well within a team
- Are compassionate and non-judgmental
- Agree to a PVG check
We have an intensive volunteer training and shadowing programme which will teach you the rest, and ongoing staff support who are there for you at every turn.
We are so appreciative of all the time and effort that our volunteers give to the charity. We do not want our volunteers to be out of pocket for supporting clients:
- We cover travel expenses for training and volunteering (we simply ask that volunteers try to take the least expensive form of public transport available).
- For volunteers who do not have access to a computer and/or the internet, we can provide technological resources.
- For volunteers who are in the asylum system themselves and have no access to childcare during in-person training, we have a small budget to reimburse childcare costs (please note that we are not able to cover childcare costs while supporting clients).
- Each active volunteer is provided with an Amma phone. In addition to ensuring that you will not incur communication costs, this will also protect your privacy and boundaries when working with clients.
- Prior to meeting in person there is a component of self-paced online study (between 10-15 hours depending on the role you have applied for).
- In person training is spread over two months and takes place in our Glasgow city centre office. Every session is on a different topic and is vital to the companionship role.
- As soon in-person training begin, trainees are encouraged to start shadowing real cases, observing staff members as they meet with actual clients.
- Following completion of training and shadowing, companions are signed off and can begin signing up for their own cases.
When you join Amma you are joining a diverse community of people who are passionate and caring. It’s a supportive place to make friends while embarking on a journey of self-exploration. The support our volunteers offer makes a tangible impact on real people experiencing hardship, and the training and staff support equips you to take that on without feeling out of your depth or burning out. Witnessing birthing people transition into parenthood and spending time with brand new babies is an incredible privilege that never gets old.
It is difficult to witness the many systemic injustices and disparities that our clients are facing, and to sometimes feel powerless to help. This is why it’s so important that volunteers attend supervision and lean on the support of the wider team.
Here at Amma we strive to create an inclusive environment. We recognise that different people learn in different ways and at different speeds. Most of our online training contains videos instead of reading, and much of our in-person sessions are experiential and discussion based. Outside of the in-person sessions, each volunteer works at their own pace towards sign off.
Some of the roles have physical requirements. Birth companions, in particular, perform physically demanding duties that involve standing for long periods and providing physical support to the labouring parent.
If you have a physical disability and are interested in volunteering with us, please reach out to our Volunteer Manager, Jenny Block, to discuss possibilities.
We have composed a trauma informed doula training that includes both external and internal facilitators. Our training explores different ways of learning, promotes discussion and connection between participants, and leaves our volunteers feeling supported and excited to enter the vital field of birth work.
Topics for the induction training include:
- Working through a trauma informed lens
- Boundaries and confidentiality
- The experiences of our client group
- Understanding the asylum process
- Safeguarding, allyship and privilege
- Birth experiences and interventions
- Supporting survivors in the birth space
- Supporting active birth and oxytocin
- Introduction to infant feeding
- Supporting the postpartum parent
- Infant first aid
- Food hygiene
We also provide ongoing training opportunities to support volunteers in their roles.
It’s important to recognise that this is expansive and amazing work but also can be challenging at times. It’s bigger than the average volunteer role. You should only apply to train and volunteer with us if you have time to dedicate and feel that you are in a steady and supported place in your personal life.
In exchange for all that we invest in our companions, we ask our volunteers to commit to supporting at least two Amma clients over the course of a year (although many of our volunteers stay on far beyond that initial commitment).
Please read through the role descriptions to learn more about the time commitments for each role.
Volunteer companion applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so even if you can’t make the next round of training you are still welcome to apply.
Companion training takes place at our Glasgow city centre office three times per year (January-March, April-June, August-October).
The next companion recruitment and training dates are:
- Application deadline: 15 July 2023
- Interviews (via Zoom): 10-26 July 2023
- Self-paced online training: August-September 2023
- 25 & 26 August (full days)
- 8 & 9 September (full days)* (Just Birth Companions and Birth & Pregnancy Companions)
Tuesday workshops (10:00 am – 2:00 pm):
- 5 September
- 12 September
- 19 September
- 26 September
- 3 October
- 10 October
- 24 October
Online Peer Supervision:
19 September (6.30-8.30 pm)
Training dates for other volunteer roles will be released soon.
- Read through role descriptions to better understand the role and its commitments
- Check that you are available for all training dates
- Apply online using the relevant application form:
- Successful applicants will be invited to book an online interview
- Successful interviewees will be invited to join the training
- If at any point you have questions that aren’t answered online, you can contact our Volunteer Manager, Jenny Block.
Please note that we only have 15 spaces for each companion training round and these do fill up quickly. If you are not successful for one round of applications, you are welcome to apply to the next.