The wonderful thing about working at Dot Dot Dot is that you are constantly hearing about the brilliant volunteering our guardians are doing and also the wealth of volunteering opportunities this city has to offer. What is even better is when you can see that by providing cheaper accommodation people are able to start their own projects and charitable schemes as they no longer need work as much in order to pay the bills. We have seen a number of these projects springing up in the past couple of years and it is a pleasure to watch them grow and go from strength to strength. With it being Global Entrepreneurship Week this week we wanted to shout about some of our brilliant social entrepreneur guardians.
One of our longest running guardians, Ione, set up her project Furry Tales whilst being a guardian with Dot Dot Dot. Furry Tales is a project aimed at ending isolation improving the well-being of older people – via small animals. Care homes can be lonely places so what Furry Tales does is bring small animals like guinea pigs and bantam chickens into care homes so that the residents can touch and interact with them. Animal therapy is an amazing way of ending isolation and loneliness, not only do the older people get to handle the animals which can improve social and emotional functioning but also the sessions act as social events with the Furry Tales volunteers as the residents can interact with these new people. Furry Tales’ success is continuing to grow with the help of Stepney City Farm (the animals’ home), we made this video to highlight their work.
Another of our long-standing guardians, Jess, also started up an amazing project whilst being a guardian with us. When looking for volunteer roles she found out about UpRising a programme that helps 19 -25 years develop leadership skills and as part of this she and a group of other UpRisers started Inter-Voice. Inter-voice seeks to empower young interpreters, who need to translate for their non-English speaking parents, by running workshops to develop the young person’s personal skills, support them with technical skills and specialist language, and help them gain recognition in the wider community.
It really is inspiring hearing about all of our guardians’ projects and being able to see how they flourish, and in turn draw in other guardians as volunteers. There also are a number of other fantastic projects that we have been able to see grow while people have been guardians with us. Current guardian Matt helped set up Speak-Set which provides an easy to use communication device which can be plugged into TVs to allow elderly people to easily have video calls with their family or carers. Previous guardian Helene also helped set up London Soup which is a crowd platform which hosts events whereby social entrepreneurs can pitch for funding for their projects whilst everyone enjoys soup donated by local food enterprises. And finally guardian David co-founded Talk To Me which aims to reduce social isolation in London and get people talking to each other more.