The Volunteer Centre, like our volunteers and our partner organisations, has spent the last couple of years on a journey of rapid and seemingly continuous change. Some parts of the journey have been really hard, and although the effects of the pandemic are quite different now to the early months, the pressure doesn’t really feel like it has eased much. As we head into Volunteers Week, it’s a chance to catch our breath and think about reminding everyone about the enjoyment, and the opportunities for wellbeing, that volunteering provides.
A couple of ways of responding to the challenges are to get out more as the weather gets better, and to meet new people and build new relationships. The Volunteer Centre is fortunate to have support from the K&C Foundation to reach out all over the borough through street-based activities, enabling people to get involved in ways that don’t require too much pre-planning or long-term commitment. This includes our K&C Ambassadors programme, run on Portobello and Golborne markets every Saturday, allowing you to give a few hours of your time at short notice to learn about the area while helping visitors find their way around and enjoy one of the gems of Kensington & Chelsea.
We also run Operation Cup of Tea, giving people a few moments to stop by our stall, grab a cuppa and a biscuit, find out what’s happening locally, decompress a bit from the pressures of the day, and connect with new people and local services they might be interested in. It’s another chance to give a few hours of your time to make a difference, something you can do at quite short notice as a one-off, and when the weather is good it’s a lot of fun, too! Whenever we can we like to be joined by our local partner organisations, partly because the more the merrier, and partly because it’s great to have a big range of opportunities to offer to people who drop by to see what’s going on.
Our street-based work definitely helps us reach people we wouldn’t otherwise meet, creates the chance for an interesting connection that might not otherwise be made, and also gives us a welcome chance to catch up with colleagues with new ideas and the energy we all need when not everything feels easy. So, don’t wait for Volunteers Week – grab a hat and some sun-cream, drop us a line, or just come along and see us. You’ll be glad you did!
Michael Ashe, CEO