Championing volunteering in Cambridge
With our Cambridge guardian community growing, Dot Dot Dot was delighted to get stuck in at the recent Volunteer for Cambridge event – and what an invigorating day we had!
Hosted by Cambridge City Council and Cambridge Hub, the inaugural Volunteer for Cambridge event was a city-wide fair involving nearly 80 organisations who all work to create positive social and environmental change through volunteering.
The aim for the day was to showcase the many brilliant organisations and causes active in Cambridge and to get more people involved in local volunteering, as well as “bridging the town/gown divide”, as Mayor Gerri Bird put it, in her opening speech.
Mayor Bird went on to talk about the important role that volunteering can play in building health, well-being and confidence for all those involved – here at Dot Dot Dot, we couldn’t agree more.
With over 200 members of the public registered to attend we were anticipating a busy day and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Right from the start the enthusiasm and energy was infectious. It was brilliant to speak with so many different people seeking more and new volunteering opportunities – testament to the vibrancy of volunteering in Cambridge – and in turn one of the reasons we are growing our community of guardians here.
From the young nurse wanting to balance the intensity of her day job with a volunteer role, to a roofer approaching retirement and looking for an inspirational cause to get involved in, everyone was enthusiastic and excited about the range of volunteering opportunities on offer. Everyone we spoke with was also overwhelming positive about what Dot Dot Dot is doing in Cambridge – housing people who do great volunteering in properties that would otherwise be empty – maintaining security and contributing to local communities.
Working closely with Hundred Houses, Dot Dot Dot has been housing property guardians in Cambridge since late 2014. So far, our guardians have undertaken over 500 hours of volunteering, which is the equivalent of 70 working days.
Cambridge guardians volunteer with a range of amazing charities, many of whom were represented at the Volunteer for Cambridge event.
We met some great organisations, including:
You Can Bike Too, a community project making cycling accessible for all, especially nervous, new or disabled riders. Volunteers run a programme of events and sessions in Milton Country Park using over 22 quirky and accessible bikes for 1, 2, and 3 people.
Gap Learning, a social enterprise where volunteers run fun, creative workshops that engage and empower vulnerable people to create beautiful products that last, have a meaning and can be sold.
Acting Now, along with their ‘friends of acting’ volunteers, work with those at risk of social exclusion, including teenagers, women, immigrants, homeless and adults with mental health issues – encouraging them to speak up and become active participants in society.
Make Do and Mend provides creative, empowering skills workshops, peer support, volunteering opportunities and information to people who have experience of mental health distress.
The Cambridge and District volunteer centre provides a valuable matching service between those who want to volunteer and organisations needing volunteers. They also support and promote good practice in volunteer involvement, develop new opportunities to volunteer and campaign on issues that affect volunteers and volunteering.
For further inspiration see the full list of all those who participated in the Volunteer for Cambridge event.
And to the wonderful, generous people of Cambridge and the super team of organisers behind the event: thank-you for such a brilliant day.