Hello my name is Autumn, I am 26 and I work with young people to help promote sexual health. I am truly passionate about getting healthy messages across to young people regarding relationships, consent & boundaries. I am also an avid pole/aerialist - when I was young I wanted to run away with the circus, but due to my immense fear of clowns, thought best stay local and just play on a hoop!

I started volunteering with STARS back in 2018. I started on the Support Line once a week, which was a truly eye opening experience which allowed myself to see the dedication the whole team had to allowing these survivors to have a voice. Eventually I moved over to the events side of the charity which was great fun, from University Fresher’s to local festivals, it was incredible to be able to get our message across. I chose STARS to volunteer for, for a number of reasons, but the main reason was their ethos, being the light that shone on quite a dark part of life was truly inspiring and even just allowing someone to have that headspace on the phones or during an event, made every bit of it worthwhile. 

Whilst volunteering I was able to attend training sessions to really expand my knowledge and skillset, I met some truly inspirational and brave people. However through the events I have met some of my most incredible and definitely lifelong friends along the way. Two girls in particular, their friendship has allowed me to grow as a person and have a type of resilience I never expected to have. This is why I would highly recommend volunteering for STARS for the sheer fact you do meet a wonderful array of characters that, despite your different backgrounds, you already all have a common interest. I was extremely nervous when I first started, the usual dilemmas of “What if I say the wrong thing?” “What if I trigger someone?” “How can I hold a safe space for them?” however after the extensive training and continued support, it eventually became second nature and in reality, all survivors are seeking are real people who will give them the opportunity just to be heard. If you are considering volunteering all I can say is DO IT! You won’t regret it, thanks to the charity I have gained a wealth of knowledge and it has helped me get the job of my dreams!

Over the last 2 years I have watched STARS grow bigger and bigger, getting the recognition it deserves. What the charity is doing on a day to day basis, is just beyond words, I couldn’t tell you how insanely proud I am of everyone involved, including myself, for getting what is a truly important message out there. If you or you know someone who is a survivor of sexual assault or rape, I would like to say this, you are not alone, we see and hear you, it is not your fault and getting the support you deserve is the first step. The service is completely non-judgemental, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Thank you STARS, I look forward to seeing what the future holds!

If you would like to become a volunteers for STARS Dorset please click the link here for information on roles available and who to contact. Thank you.