Dot Dot Dot staff give their time to good causes

June 4, 2021

During #VolunteersWeek 2021 we caught up with Dot Dot Dot staff who, like our guardians, often give up their time to volunteer for good causes. From a forest school for kids, to food banks and trustee positions, there’s loads of great work going on in our local communities.

Patrick Harrison, business development associate at Dot Dot Dot

I volunteer for my wife Sue’s forest school business, Branching Out-woods, mainly at a primary school in Braintree.

The theory of forest school is that the children choose what to do in the woodland, and the leaders assist them to do those things, which might be den making, craft, cooking, rope stuff, or almost anything in their imagination. There is a big role for risk taking and fires which the children learn to make for themselves. It sounds hippy-ish but the evidence is that it really helps a child’s development (and the adults! – it’s so hard not to give the answer but let the child take (managed) risks and learn from their mistakes). We do see the children change in a few weeks!

After week three of the six allotted sessions we see the children relax into it and make the time their own. When we ask them if they would like to see anything changed, the response is “No, this is our time to do what we want”. It seems many children have so much of their life structured and directed.

Katharine Hibbert, founder and director of Dot Dot Dot

I’m a volunteer trustee at Headway East London, a charity which supports people who’ve had brain injuries as well as their families. We have a day centre and various outreach programmes working with people from 13 London boroughs, providing everything from physiotherapy and counselling to an art studio and opportunities to make music. As a trustee, I’m responsible (alongside the rest of the board of trustees) for making sure that the charity is well run and makes the biggest difference it can, and I also try to get involved in a hands-on way when I can. I’ve been doing this for seven years now.

I got involved with Headway East London after visiting the centre and being so impressed by the positive, purposeful atmosphere. The members have had their lives changed by devastating brain injuries, and yet they find ways to enjoy themselves and do things which are meaningful and worthwhile. It’s very satisfying to feel that I’m making a contribution to that. I’ve also learned a lot – about brain injury, but also about running a charity, and that helps me in my work at Dot Dot Dot too.

Most of the work of being a trustee is fairly dry, and is mostly focused on risk management – it’s a lot of looking through accounts and policies, and discussing updates to them. The biggest difference I make is probably by sitting on the panel that recruits the charity’s senior leadership team – we recently appointed a new chief executive, which was a huge responsibility. But the most enjoyable and memorable bits are spending time with the members – particularly at the supper clubs we have every few months in non-Covid times, when members cook up a feast for scores of guests as a fundraiser.

Abi Carter, head of growth and partnerships at Dot Dot Dot

I volunteer at Paddington Development Trust, a charity that aims to help communities in north west London exert greater control over their own lives. We run employment and training programmes, and wonderful community health initiatives based around local people delivering health messaging to their peers. We also invest in improving the local built environment and have converted a Grade 1 listed church into a community arts and culture hub. I became a trustee in 2016 and chair a year later. I also volunteer at Tottenham Food Bank, based out of Tottenham Town Hall. I joined in April 2020 when Covid-19 hit and food banks all over the country were affected a) by their usual raft of older volunteers having to self isolate and b) by the surge in demand for their services.

I worked just down the road from Paddington Development Trust – at Lord’s, in St John’s Wood – and wanted to volunteer to see a different side to the area and learn more about the pervasive barriers that prevent so many people in London being able to enjoy and get the most from the city. I also thought it would be useful from a personal development perspective – being able to broaden my own skillset and networks beyond sport. At the food bank, there was a massive need for volunteers, but it also gave me a strong sense of purpose at a time when my plan to go travelling and studying after leaving a long-standing job had been kiboshed by Covid-19…and the alternative seemed to be just to sulk about it!

At the Trust, my most memorable moment was the first time I walked into Grand Junction – the church we converted into a community asset – when it had been scrubbed and renovated, and cleared of scaffold, and was actually hosting local people, running projects that had never been run in that part of London before, and giving them a place to be really proud of. The restoration has been over 10 years in the making and the source of many sleepless nights, and it was amazing to see how much blood, toil, tears and sweat had gone into making it such a joyous place for so many wonderful local people.

The early days of Covid-19 were carnage at the food bank, as you’d expect. We had queues of hungry and desperate people outside, and a paper-based system which wasn’t made to cope with volume. A few of us volunteers quickly helped the organisation that runs the food bank put an effective system in place to get the packing and distribution done, which mainly involved giving out orders with absolutely no authority – but it worked! At times we were delivering to 80/90 people in an afternoon, and the feeling of team work and people focusing on doing small jobs very well never ceased to give me a great sense of pride.

Mark Muldoon, relationship coordinator at Dot Dot Dot

I volunteer at all sorts of different places and I’ve always tried to do it in my local community – it feels good to not just live in my neighbourhood but to be playing an active role in it. I’ve been a volunteer event photographer at Poplar HARCA/Poplar Union since August last year and a volunteer painter and decorator at Civic in Custom House every now and then since last May. I’ve also been a food waste distributor for OLIO in Poplar since November last year and I’ve volunteered as a litter picker in Limehouse Basin for Moo Canoes. Through OLIO, I solely manage the redistribution of supermarket food that would otherwise be thrown away, ensuring as much of it as possible gets into the hands of less well off families in my local community.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

May 6, 2016

1.Lansbury Micro Museum

national trustWhere: Chrisp Street Market
When: At least once a fortnight on a Friday or Saturday from 11am-4pm
Category: Museum, History, Architecture
Commitment Level: Ongoing

In partnership with the V&A and Poplar HARCA, a new micro-museum is being opened in Poplar which is focused on celebrating the history and architectural importance of the Lansbury Estate. The exhibition will evolve each month to explore personal stories from residents in the area. They are looking for a team of dynamic micro-museum guides to help run the space. To find out more and to register your interest, email: volunteer.london@nationaltrust.org.uk or call: 0207 824 7134.

2.Cordwainers Grow

Cordwainers GrowWhere: Hackney
When: 14th May, 28th May, 4th June, 18th June, 2nd July from 14.00-16.00
Category: Gardening, Community, Food
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Cordwainers Grow are looking for community gardening volunteers who are interested in helping to set-up and maintain community gardening projects. They organise volunteer days at different gardens and sites around Hackney and invite volunteers to help with sowing seeds, harvesting herbs and setting up new growing spaces. If you are interested in this opportunity, click here.

3.Severndroog Castle Preservation Trust

severndroog castleWhere: Castle Wood, Woolwich, SE18 3RT
When: Thursdays, Fridays or Sundays
Category: Heritage, History, Architecture
Commitment Level: Ongoing

The Severndroog Castle Preservation Trust are looking for a volunteer visitor assistant to give visitors an exciting experience. After years of campaigning for the preservation of the building and restoration work, the Castle is now in its second year of being open to the public and is seen as a local attraction and a place of learning. The role involves providing a friendly and informed welcome to the visitors. For more information and to register your interest, click here.

4.Victim Support

victim supportWhere: 51 Philbeach Gardens, SW5 9EB
When: Various
Category: Support, Mentoring, Crime
Commitment Level: Ongoing

Victim Support are looking for volunteer community support workers to provide emotional and practical support to the victims of crime. Typical tasks involve contacting people who have been victims of crime, either over the phone, at the victim’s home or another mutually agreed location. If you are interested in finding out more, click here.

5.Brixton People’s Kitchen

brixton people's kitchenWhere: Myatts Fields Park, Brixton
When: 7th May, 14th May, 28th May and 11th June from 10.30 – 15.30
Category: Poverty, Food Banks, Food Waste
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

The Brixton People’s Kitchen are looking for people to come help them cook good food for local people in an area without good access to fresh fruit and vegetables. You’d be helping to reduce food waste, educate young people about healthier eating and bringing the community closer together. For more information, see here.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

March 24, 2016

1.Wilton Way

wiltonsWhere: E8
When: 2nd April and 16th April
Commitment Level: One-off opportunities

On the 2nd April Wilton Way are hosting the Hackney Deaf Childrens Society Easter Egg Hunt from 2.00-4.30pm. They are looking for some volunteers to help set up the hunt and assist the families in finding eggs around the community garden.

On the 16th April they are hosting a Big Dig event, organised by Capital growth. For more information about this, click here.

For more information, email wiltonsway@gmail.com.

2.Girlguide Group

girlguideWhere: St Hilda’s East Community Centre
When: Tuesdays 4.30-6.30pm
Commitment Level: Regular Commitment

A new east end Guide group is currently being set up, focusing on building girls’ confidence, raising aspirations and having fun in a girl only space. They need enthusiastic volunteer Leaders, Assistant Leaders, Helpers and Occasional Helpers to join our team to run this new group.  This volunteering option is for women only. For more information and to register your interest please contact Kim by emailing kim@sthildas.org.uk.

3.Trussell Trust

trussel trustWhere: Various
When: Various
Commitment Level: Various  

The Trussell Trust runs a network of over 400 foodbacks, giving emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK.  To learn more and to get started, click here.

4.Alternative therapies for substance users

Where: HMP High DownHMP1
When: Various
Commitment Level: Regular Commitment

They are looking for volunteers to work with clients (prisoners) on the Substance Misuse Unit. Ideally they would like volunteers who are trained to deliver alternative therapies such as deep tissue massage and yoga/relaxation. They would like someone who can commit to delivering these sessions either twice or three times per month (Monday-Friday). For more information, click here.

5.Green Thursday Volunteers

chiltern rangersWhere: Wycombe Rye Lido Car Park
When: Thursday Morning
Commitment Level: Low – Can attend as few or as many sessions as you please

The Chiltern Rangers are looking for volunteers to help them care for the local environment and woodlands. The work varies each week but is all focused around conservation. Find out more here.

What are you looking for today?

Marketing Permissions

Dot Dot Dot Property Ltd will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing by email. Please confirm you are happy to hear from us by:

Email
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at hello@dotdotdotproperty.com. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By checking the box, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

GDPR
We use MailChimp as our marketing automation platform. By clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provide will be transferred to MailChimp for processing in accordance with their Privacy Policy and Terms.