Listening in England
London’s Piccadilly Circus is a noisy place. Much like New York’s Times Square. But, a three minute walk down Piccadilly Road brings you to St James’s Church. The Piccadilly Market fills the church’s courtyard with beautiful arts and crafts or exquisite food booths (depending on the day). But, it is always a place that draws you in. One writer described this church yard market as a place where, “quintessential church fête meets West End London chic.”
To the right of the courtyard is a small green trailer, where for the last 30 years, volunteers have provided supportive listening services each day. Operating as “The Caravan – Drop-in,” they offer “a core service of listening and emotional support.” Service is provided at no charge by volunteers who are students in professional counseling training. “For some people, just a little human warmth and a chat can hit the spot. Others may wish to talk more deeply about what is troubling them.”
They day I knocked on the Caravan door, a young woman working her very first shift welcomed me in to talk. We had a brief chat about the importance of listening to each other as I told her about the work of Contact Care Line and she shared The Caravan’s work with me. We agreed that, across the world, listening makes a difference in the lives of those around us.
Without a doubt, “just a little human warmth and a chat can hit the spot.” That, along with a lovely crepe from one of the vendors in the church yard, provided a nice break for me in the middle of London’s busyness. And a great reminder of how many volunteers, in all corners of the world, are waiting to listen to you. Here in the States, you can call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255.