Volunteers’ Week: a special role for Amber
27 May 2022

Volunteers’ Week (1st to 7th June) is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. Amber Luxton is a sales consultant at Vistry South West, which builds properties for Bovis Homes and Linden Homes. She lives in Newton Abbot with her cat, Bella but unlike most 31 year olds, in her spare time Amber supports her local community by volunteering with Devon and Cornwall Police. She has been a special for the past 10 years, which requires her to contribute a minimum of 20 hours a month and she’s now a special sergeant. Amber explained: “Being a special involves supporting the regular police officers in their day-to-day role. Many people confuse the position with a PCSO and see it as a community liaison role, however, this is not the case. I attend to all 999 calls, have full powers of arrest and I’m issued with all the same equipment as regular officers. “My role in the police is completely voluntary. I choose my own shifts and I line manage a team of seven special constables based in the Teignbridge area of South Devon. Every day is different and you never know what you will be responding to throughout the day, it could be shoplifting, road traffic accidents, concerns for welfare, assaults or domestic incidents. At the beginning of the shift, we all sit down for a briefing and go over any tasks, such as warrants that need to be carried out or anyone in custody that needs interviewing. We get allocated our call sign, which is how the control room contact you over the radio, and then we’re deployed to any outstanding jobs or any new 999 calls that come in. “You get a real sense of achievement when you can help someone in their time of need and I enjoy knowing that I’ve contributed to my community. I also like the challenges that each shift brings and how the role constantly develops me and my policing skills, plus I’ve made lots of great friends. “The amount of time I spend volunteering can vary based on my personal commitments and the need. On average I do two to three shifts a month, which equates to approximately 300 hours a year. However, during the pandemic I contributed a lot more due to the demand and volunteered over 600 hours in 2020.” Amber also works for Vistry in the sales team and looks after a number of developments including Tithe Barn and Sandrock in Exeter, Monument View in Wellington and White Rock in Paignton. The company offers employees two fully paid volunteering days a year, which Amber utilises. She commented: “The volunteering days at work have been fantastic and I’ve been able to use them for the last eight years. My role as a special has helped me with my confidence and I have grown so much from the experiences I have encountered. I know how to engage with members of the public and how to change my interactions with people based on their demeanour, experiences and needs. “In terms of administration, being in the police has definitely made me more methodical and thorough. This helps with my sales admin as it means that I am very conscientious with my work and look to get things right first time. Within the police if you make a mistake or do not take enough detail, it could be detrimental to someone’s case. Therefore, taking your time and doing it right is imperative, which has been a good transferable skill. Also, you have to be alert and ready for the unexpected, which I feel helps me with site safety as I’m more observant and aware of what is going on around me.” Amber added: “In all honesty, I don’t think I could work in the police full-time. It is a very demanding and challenging role and I’m not sure I could take the pressure of it every day. Unfortunately, you see some very upsetting things and I am grateful that I do not have to deal with those types of incidents as often as my regular colleagues. I also love my sleep and could not cope with the shift work and regular night shifts. However, working for Vistry and the police provides a good balance for me; I love both roles and I feel very proud to volunteer for my local community.” Managing director, Paul Moran commented: “Amber is an inspiration. Many of us plan to do more to help in our local community but Amber rolls up her sleeves and year-on-year continues to make a difference. The fact the transferable skills she obtains helps her in her sales role is fantastic and we’re very proud of her commitment. “We also have another member of staff who uses the volunteering days for her voluntary position as a magistrate in Exeter, so it’s wonderful to see the initiative being used in so many varied ways.” For further information on Bovis Homes or Linden Homes visit www.bovishomes.co.uk and www.lindenhomes.co.uk For more details about Volunteers’ Week visit volunteersweek.org
Volunteers’ Week: a special role for Amber

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