This week’s top 5 volunteering opportunities

May 20, 2016

1.Crisis

crisisWhere: Various
When: 9th June and 16th June
Category: Events, Fundraising, Homeless 
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Crisis run a number of fundraising events throughout the year and would like volunteers to help out. At the moment they are looking for volunteers to help with the Crisis Square Mile Relay on the 9th June and the Crisis Square Mile Run on the 16th June. On both days they need route marshals and site stewards. Please contact smr@crisis.org.uk or call Kayleigh on 020 7036 2879 to sign up or find out more.

2.Spires – for homeless and disadvantaged people

spiresWhere: Streatham
When: Various
Category: Drop in, Homeless, Poverty, Befriending
Commitment Level: Ongoing

Spires work with homeless and disadvantaged people. Volunteers are needed during all the sessions – from open access drop in to Women’s Space at the centre. Particular roles are assigned on a daily basis, however tasks will be a mixture of befriending, serving food and helping clients complete forms. For more information and to register your interest, click here.

3.The Bike Project

bike projectWhere: Denmark Hill
When: Thursdays 5pm-8pm 
Category: Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Bikes, Befriending
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

The Bike Project are a charity who take in second hand bikes, fix them up and give them away for free to refugees and asylum seekers. This opportunity is for those interested in learning bike mechanical skills and helping those less fortunate. To apply, click here.

4.Royal National Lifeboat Institution

rnliWhere: SE1 0QL
When: Weekdays
Category: Admin, Minutes, Communication
Commitment Level: Ongoing commitment – 2 days per month

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has an opportunity available for a volunteer interested in helping to facilitate successful RNLI committee meetings by setting up meeting rooms and taking accurate minutes. To find out more, click here.

5. Spitalfields City Farm

spitalfields city farmWhere: E1 5AR
When: Various
Category: Gardening, Community, Farming
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Spitalfields City Farm was originally set up by volunteers and still relies on volunteers today to help maintain the farm and gardens, look after the animals and assist in delivering projects. There are a variety of ways to get involved, to see them click here.

 

 

Detroit: a city of possibility?

April 24, 2014

 

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I recently got the chance to go to Detroit, and what an interesting city it is! It’s the largest city in the US to ever file for bankruptcy, is an estimated $18-20 billion in debt, and with this has come a dramatic reduction of its inhabitants – one source states that it has dropped from 1.8 million people in 1950 to just 700,000 today; people leave, taxes go up, more people leave. As a result of this, large swathes of the city are now empty including in the downtown areas. It’s hard to imagine that it was not long ago when this this was the heart of the motor industry and had the associated economic boom and glitz that went with it. Now there are just a lot of car parks in place of where buildings once were – there is even one in the old opera hall, with its ornate ceiling still in place.

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Walking through the city you cannot help but imagine that there is so much potential in these empty spaces – especially coming from London where there is so much pressure on the housing supply. Obviously there is no simple solution but it’s exciting to imagine the kinds of projects which could bring people back into the city, when there is so much space and potential.

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Artists have been at work making some of the empty buildings beautiful, alongside a range of other projects including a scheme aimed at bringing farming into the heart of the city, to use up some of the spare space and to draw people back to living there. Clearly, in crowed Britain there is less space for these kinds of ideas, but it’s just as important that void properties are turned into an asset for the community rather than an eyesore and a blight.
Obviously the situation in Detroit is complex, and the city’s decline is a tragedy for many of its long-standing residents, but the fact remains that empty buildings can be used for interesting possibilities.  Let’s hope plenty more innovative schemes breathe life back into Detroit over the coming years, and bring it back from the brink of ruin.

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