Volunteer researcher

As a pandemic response, Sudden, the charity service for people bereaved in Sudden ways, is offering people who are suddenly bereaved (including by COVID-19), and who have vulnerabilities and acute needs, a case worker for ten hours of phone-based care spread over the first ten weeks of someone’s bereavement, to protect wellbeing at a critical time of shock and loss.

Who we help

We are particularly, at this time, helping people who have a range of complexities in their lives compounding their shock and loss; such as mental or physical illness, lack of income, social barriers such as language, issues relating to children, youth or older people, or multiple bereavements at once.

How we help

Our case workers help vulnerable bereaved people to identify their emotional, practical and specialist needs and agree outcome goals. Our case workers provide emotional support, and work with, community agencies to advocate for their clients and get help they need. About half case workers’ time is spent talking to their clients, and the other half getting things done for them. Case workers are supported by a professional management team, providing training, procedures, and operational and clinical supervision. They are also supported by a team of volunteer researchers.

Our impact

Case workers, and the volunteer researchers who assist them, enable clients to feel safe, supported, connected and stable. The goal is to enable clients to have a significantly lower chance of developing conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a lower chance of facing isolation and social disadvantages such as financial hardship.

More about us

Sudden, at www.sudden.org, is a clinically-directed, charitable service that is born out of the Sudden project, which provides and disseminates professional development tools and standards relating to care of people bereaved suddenly. Sudden is hosted by Brake, the road safety charity registered 1093244, which operates the UK’s National Road Victim Service (NRVS). The NRVS is an acclaimed and government funded service for people bereaved suddenly in road crashes and is offered through all police forces to everyone bereaved on roads. It operates in the same way as the Sudden service, through case managed support helping people bereaved in road crashes with their emotions and practical and procedural challenges. The NRVS came second in the 2019 Helpline Partnership awards.

About you

This is a vital but challenging role for anyone with investigative research and excellent communication skills and a passion to support a team at the frontline of care during the pandemic.

Sudden is seeking people with a background in providing research and communication that helps people with acute emotional and practical support needs.

While you will not be working directly with the bereaved people we help, this is a demanding and pivotal role, only appropriate for those with:

  • research skills – you listen hard to problems and find the solutions, accurately and fast;
  • people skills – you can liaise with external agencies, asking insightful questions and understanding the answers without misinterpretation, clarifying as necessary to ensure they are the correct agencies to help our clients; and
  • significant resilience, ability to work steadily and effectively during your volunteer shift, and willingness to be professionally-developed and supervised.

We are interested in receiving applications, not to the exclusion of others, from people with a track record and solid references relating to backgrounds working in research-led roles, and with an understanding of community agencies in the social and health care sectors. You may have worked in any one or more of a number of professions, ranging from journalism to university research to community or social support agencies in the public or NGO sector.

Time commitment

You will work a minimum of a four hour shift one day a week on a voluntary basis, within normal working hours but on a day we agree with you.

There is an expectation that you will be available to commit to a 2-week training programme with on-going professional self-directed learning.

Our commitment

You will be working for an acclaimed and professionally run charity that is clinically directed. The role requires you to pass an intensive training programme and be supported with clinical supervision.

Job description


To provide research support to our frontline case workers helping them to help people better who are bereaved in sudden ways including COVID-19.

We are asking you to donate 4 for 40. Four hours of your time, every week, for 40 weeks (except when you are unable to give your time due to holidays or for other reasons).


  • Commit to training plus a minimum of 40 weeks of volunteering of 4 hours a week.
  • Undertake a range of research tasks from the simple, such as find a local mutual aid group to help with shopping, to the complex, such as find a lawyer who specialises in a particular probate issue. The range of tasks are as wide as the range of bereaved people’s individual needs when in crisis.
  • Participate additionally in team training, supervisory and development sessions, contributing to the professional development of yourself and the service through heuristic learnings.

This is a demanding role that requires resilience. We recognise that many people have challenges at this time so please do consider this when applying.

How to apply

Please register your interest in this volunteering role, by sending a CV and covering letter explaining why this role is for you and your motivation for applying to tlister@brake.org.uk.