Helen Topping

Volunteer Services Delivery Lead

Volunteering Development and Operations

Q&A

  • Why is Macmillan a great career choice?

    There are lots of opportunities to develop, so many teams to get to know. It’s a much bigger organisation than I realised with so many great people doing such a wide variety of roles. There are regular opportunities to dip into things. And at the end of the day you’re having an impact on people living with cancer, the reputation is strong and it’s a real privilege. 

    I feel a great responsibility when you tell others what you do… I had a builder visit my home recently, he saw my home setup and asked what I do for a living. When I told him, he was just so emotional, having been personally affected by Cancer with his loved ones. I got the opportunity to listen to his story over a cup of tea. Everyone has a story and I always take time to listen and learn from others.

  • Is there a quote that motivates you?

    I have two: 

    “The one thing in life that’s inevitable is change” 

    And 

    “The people that cope best and quickest with change are often those who have no choice.” 

    I have met some incredibly strong and inspirational people with cancer and those who have recovered from cancer who continue to volunteer, share their stories and support others. My role is to get to know these people, learn from them and to empower them to continue this good work. 

    Who could not love this job!

  • What is your favourite part about working for Macmillan?

    Firstly, I have a customer facing role, working directly with people who have Cancer and just knowing that you’re having an impact with one phone call and hearing the positive change in their voice is the best part of my role. 

    Secondly, my role is to encourage, motivate and train volunteers to listen and emotionally support people living with Cancer. You’re making a difference to people every day.

  • What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

    It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster! 

    You’re speaking to people with cancer and you often go in with little knowledge, you don’t know who you’re going to speak to on the end of the phone. You have to draw upon your skills and knowledge, and I love that challenge. 

    The majority of my job is building relationships with our fabulous volunteers; I’m picking up the phone and talking to people about their life, all the good things, all the motivators and I have the honour of telling them what a difference they’re making to people. All whilst I’m getting paid! I get to empower and thank them. It’s such a privilege to work with people who give up their time. 

    As a mother of two, it’s important that you’re present and you get share school runs and homework time. At Macmillan, you can make your day work for you and your family. You get to juggle your life around your family; I get to put the washing on, wave at the postman and my commute is 30 seconds!

  • What made you want to apply for a role at Macmillan?

    I’d been in social services for 20 years and I fancied a change. 

    My friend sent me a link saying “this job’s got your name written all over it”. 

    I applied and got an interview! 

    In the interview the vibe from the panel really drew me in; Macmillan felt really modern and diverse. 

    Although ideally I wanted a part time role, I took the full-time role as the job sounded so inspiring. I make the most of working flexibly and I’m present at home for my children. 

    It works for me, ticks all the boxes.

  • What makes you get out of bed every morning?

    Most days I put the phone down after speaking to my volunteer team and think “I LOVE MY JOB”. After 20 years in social work, I feel really valued and know that I can make a positive difference to people. It’s a real motivator. 

    I feel looked after here, my wellbeing is on the agenda and my colleagues and wider team are all here to support and look out for one another.