Spotlight on: Aoise and Zoe, International Women’s Day

March 19, 2021

For International Women’s Day, we highlighted two of our guardians who are supporting women through their work and volunteering, helping to build a more equal future for all. Read more from our former guardian Aoise who’s paving the way for women leaders in social enterprise through her work with Supply Change. And our east London guardian, Zoe, who has been supporting vulnerable women and children in temporary housing through her volunteering with the Magpie Project.

 

Aoise, Supply Change

From our former guardian, Aoise

I was trying to find a place to live in London, and to do that in an affordable way was really difficult because London is so expensive…My weekend jobs were mainly waitressing which wasn’t that well paid, so I really wanted to be able to find a place that would allow me to continue with Year Here (a programme for entrepreneurs driven to create meaningful social change). That’s where Dot Dot Dot came in.

Living with Dot Dot Dot and not having to pay huge amounts of money for housing was a huge aspect of being able to carry on with Year Here. It gave me that breathing space to explore options with Supply Change, the social enterprise I set up with two of my fellow alumni, and really build on the learning I had gained from Year Here. It gave me a great launching pad and foundation.

The whole ethos and mission of Supply Change is to help social enterprises win and deliver more contracts. Our supplier base is over 50% women-led, which I think is quite common across the sector, and from the outset we try to support them to get them in front of buyers. We believe that redirecting some of that buyer spend to social businesses and social entrepreneurs can be really meaningful, especially when they’ve got past the stage of relying on grant funding. Directing revenue and regular contracts to these businesses is a really really great way of supporting social enterprises and the women who lead them.

Another way I support women entrepreneurs is through Supply Change itself. We are completely women-founded and we are a 75% women team. There are a lot of amazing women leaders in the social enterprise sector. Three female leaders in procurement is definitely a change in the way things have been done previously. We are paving the way for a lot more women to be leaders within the social enterprise sector and social procurement.

Zoe, The Magpie Project

From our east London guardian, Zoe

For a long time I had been looking to be involved with an organisation focused on supporting women, but hadn’t found myself with enough time to do so. Then after becoming a guardian with Dot Dot Dot, I found myself with more time to dedicate to issues I cared about. After learning about the incredible work that the Magpie Project does to support women and their children, I knew their cause was the one I wanted to be involved with.

The Magpie Project is an amazing charity that supports vulnerable women and their small children that are living in temporary accommodation. They work incredibly hard to get these families on their feet, and they stand up for them in ways that others haven’t. Since I started volunteering for them my role as a volunteer has involved a bit of everything. On a regular shift my role involves helping during a day session at their centre in various ways, as well as creating illustrations that they could use.

Since the pandemic started the Magpie Project has been working very hard to find ways to continue supporting its families in a safe and socially distanced way, and they’ve been very successful in finding ways to deliver help such as food and essentials to their homes. Even when the Magpie Project centre had to close its doors because of the pandemic, it found ways to continue delivering help to families that would otherwise be destitute

I volunteered for them remotely by creating some videos for the children and families to do illustration and creative activities at home. Volunteering for the Magpie Project allowed me to support women not only by helping with the work that they do every week at their centre, but also using my own skills, such as creating illustrations they could use to raise awareness about their cause, or to sell and to raise funds for the women and their families.

Becoming a Dot Dot Dot guardian enabled me to dedicate more of my time to causes I care about, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible given the high cost of living and rent in London.

Dot Dot Dot not only gave me the opportunity to pursue my own path, as I was then able to afford enough space to have my own studio at home to develop my work, but also gave me the opportunity to give some of my time to others and help causes I feel are meaningful and worth supporting.

Read more stories from our guardians on how living with Dot Dot Dot has given them the freedom and flexibility to pursue their goals.

Life as a Dot Dot Dot guardian: Mahmoud, Oxford

February 26, 2021

From Dot Dot Dot guardian, Mahmoud, Oxford

I first heard of Dot Dot Dot through a friend who was a property guardian in Oxford. At the time I was living in a flat near my restaurant, Za’atar Bake which was expensive for the area. When the lockdown started last year, I realised I needed to save money in order to be able to sustain my business – otherwise I’d lose it. I saw that there was a Dot Dot Dot flat available so took my chance and applied. Now I’m saving hundreds of pounds each month which gives me peace of mind that my restaurant will be OK.

Last May, we started offering free home-cooked meals every day during lockdown to the homeless and others who couldn’t afford to buy their own food in our community. We thought maybe 10-15 people would show up. We ended up regularly giving away 60 meals a day. A lot of the money I’m saving through living with Dot Dot Dot is redirected to the restaurant and goes towards providing the free meals. I’m grateful to know that I can do this with comfort and continue to do so once we can reopen which I’m hoping will be in March for our community.

We also did a meal for 90 people on Christmas Day for people who didn’t have anyone to spend it with – we were really supported by the community who gave us a Christmas tree, decorations, lighting and we were even gifted 300kg of rice! Oxford Hub (a social action charity committed to bringing people and organisations together) invited us all to have a free buffet to say thank you and I even spoke to the Oxford Lord Mayor about more ways to give back to the community. It’s great to see people paying attention and thinking about other ways they can help.

Since we started offering free meals we have also seen our sales increase through people coming in to support us and our bond with the community has gotten stronger. We didn’t want donations or to make money off the back of offering free meals, so the best way that we can be supported is through people coming and enjoying the food at Za’atar Bake. Giving is about giving to everybody and doing charitable work is an amazing feeling. I want to spread good vibes and hope to the Oxford community and I’m proud to do it. It keeps us all going to see people being positively affected by what we’re doing.

I love sports and staying active, and last June I set a challenge for the community called ‘Running for 30k’ (or ‘Walk for 30k’!). People had one month to either run or walk everyday until they reached their goal of 30k – the aim was to get people outdoors in the fresh air and enjoying sport. Once they’d reached their goal of 30k they were able to come to my restaurant and claim their free lunch or dinner. So many people got involved and one woman told me it was the first time in her life that she felt fitter and lost weight. It shows what happens when you give people a challenge and spread hope.

A lot of people don’t think about giving time to charity when they’re busy with their lives and working hard. It’s all too easy to not think about giving back. Since living with Dot Dot Dot, I’ve not only saved money but gained flexibility in my life in order to give what I can to my community. I enjoy living in a society where we do what we can to help others.

You can find out more about the work that Mahmoud and his team are doing for the Oxford community here. You can also read more stories here from our guardians on how living with Dot Dot Dot has given them the freedom and flexibility to pursue their goals.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

March 4, 2016

1.Richard House Children’s Hospice – Bucket Collections

Richard HouseWhere: Upton Park Stadium
When: 28th March and 9th April
Commitment Level: Low

Richard House Children’s Hospice are looking for people to collect donations at two football matches. On the 28th March volunteers will arrive at 12pm to collect before the match which begins at 2pm. On the 9th April volunteers will arrive at 10.45am to collect until the match begins at 12.45pm. For more information please contact Rachel Green on RachelG@richardhouse.org.uk

2.Providence Row

Where: Various Providence Row1
When: Various
Commitment Level: Various

Providence Row tackles the root causes of homelessness to help people get off, and stay off, the streets. They currently have a variety of vacancies for volunteers including in fundraising, gardening and advising. Check these out and apply here.

3.Good Gym

Goodgym2Where: Various
When: Various
Commitment: Low

Good Gym is a group of runners who combine keeping fit with doing good community work. You can run as a group to work on a community project, do one off missions or commit to visiting an isolated older person on a regular basis. For more information, see here.

4.Organic Food Growing Volunteer

May Project Gardens1Where: May Project Gardens
When: Various
Commitment Level: Low

May Project Gardens are looking for volunteers to come help maintain the garden. Over the coming weeks they will be focusing attention on general garden maintenance, site planning and fruit and vegetable production. For more information and to register your interest, click here.

5.Samaritans

Where: VariousSamaritans
When: Various
Commitment Level: Regular Commitment

The Samaritans are a round the clock listening service, which aims to provide emotional support to anyone in emotional distress or at risk of suicide. There are a range of volunteering opportunities available at their 201 branches. For more information and to apply, click here.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

February 19, 2016

1. Clean for the QueenClean for the queen1

Where: Victoria Park
When: Saturday 5th March
Commitment Level: Low (2-3 hour session)

A new initiative from Keep Britain Tidy, Clean for the Queen aims to mark the Queen’s 90th Birthday by raising awareness to dog walkers about cleaning up after their dogs. The would like volunteers to come and spread the word on Saturday 5th March. For more information and to register your interest, please email victoriapark@towerhamlets.gov.uk or call 0207 364 4504.

 

2. United Rescues                                                                                                            

United RescuesWhere: Anywhere
When:  Flexible  
Commitment Level: Low

This opportunity involves taking the distress calls from migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean and directing them to the right authorities and translators. Those interested should get in touch on the facebook group.

 

3. Chance UK – Volunteer MentorChance uk

Where: Enfield, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Waltham Forest and Westminster
When:  Flexible
Commitment Level: Medium – Regular Commitment

Chance UK are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to mentor 5-11 year olds with behavioural difficulties. The mentor will help the young person to develop social skills and confidence in order to deal with difficulties. They provide full training and support. For more information visit the Chance UK Website or call 020 7281 5858.

 

4. Bucks Floating Support – Homeless Outreach Volunteer

Bucks Floating SupportWhere: High Wycombe
When:  6am Monday to Friday
Commitment Level: Low – no regular commitment required

Bucks Floating Support are looking for volunteers to accompany outreach workers to find people who are sleeping rough.  They will then take the details of people found sleeping rough, with a view to finding them emergency accommodation. If you are interested in this role follow this link.

 

5. Little Explorers Leader

Where: Morden Hall Parknational trust
When:  Monday Afternoons
Commitment Level: Regular Commitment

Little Explorers Leaders work with young children, under the age of 5, to run weekly activities which include storytelling, art and singing. This happens at Morden Hall Park which is a haven for wildlife in South London, and will help bring the park to life for the children. For more information about the role, see here.

 

 

Guardian Spotlight: Hannah and Mats

April 25, 2015

Brook House_litted picking and bulb planting

Since joining the Dot Dot Dot team as Guardians in June 2014, Mats and Hannah have together volunteered over 255 hours of their time. As well as volunteering on community projects, they also use their digital and media skills to volunteer for causes they feel passionate about.

We asked them to tell us about some of the volunteer projects they’ve been involved with over the last year…

Acton Homeless Concern

Mats: When we first started volunteering at Acton Homeless Concern Centre in 2014, I was acton homeless centrestartled over how many people who came to the centre to get food. I didn’t expect to see so many young people, and so many elderly people. Acton Homeless concern gives out clothing, food and offers vital health services.

Hannah: Having previously volunteered for a homeless charity in Bournemouth I already knew homelessness was a growing problem in the UK-  It’s extremely rewarding to know you are helping provide a vital service to some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Women’s Pioneer Housing

Mats: We’ve also recently started volunteering with a housing scheme for elderly women through Women’s Pioneer Housing. We organise activities and events that are shaped around the tenants’ interests and needs, including gardening, film club and IT sessions.

Hannah: The fortnightly film club we organise with another guardian, Diana, has been a great success! Mats and I have a film projector so we use this to create a cinema feel. The residents get to suggest films they like to see, and we sometimes have a discussion after… and popcorn!

www.dianapatient.co.uk

Mats: We organise regular IT drop in sessions too, where we provide guidance and help to set up printers and routers, or to tackle problems with their computer

What seems like a small problem for us can be a major issue for people who might not used to different technologies and devices. Some are surprisingly active on Facebook and other social media, though!

www.dianapatient.co.uk

The Canvas Café

Mats: I’ve also just finished filming the journey of East London social enterprise, the Canvas café. I volunteered my spare time to capture the journey on film, from the day the founder Ruth got the keys, until the day it finally opened…

I met loads of volunteers helping to make this vision a reality – The café’s sister charity, Body Gossip, works with a range of charities such as the Girl GuidesCoppaFeel!Tender Domestic Violence, and Mind.

Look for Rainbows
Hannah:I have also been working on a separate project, a blog I created called Look For lOOK FOR RAINSBOWSRainbows. I write articles relating to domestic abuse and talk about my own experience of abuse  – in hope to support and empower others.

Mats:  We’re glad we can use our skills and knowledge to do some good,  even if it’s just showing an elderly person how to use Skype so they can call their relatives. The smallest things can mean a whole new world for someone.

Get involved

  • If you’re interested in volunteering and becoming a guardian with dot dot dot, apply here today
  • Keep up to date with our news and our guardians’ volunteering experiences on Facebook and Twitter

 

Guardian Spotlight: Green fingered Susanna

March 31, 2015

Since joining Dot Dot Dot as a property guardian in North London earlier this year Susanna has volunteered over 60 hours using her green skills to support a homeless hostel in Walthamstow, as well as nurturing the plant nursery at a food growing cooperative on the edge of London. 

Susanna told us a bit about her different roles, what she loves most about the projects and the best bits for her about volunteering in the great outdoors…

Bug hotels made from terracotta pots, painted and filled by the service users. This is one way of encouraging insect predators to make a home in the garden.

Bug hotels made from terracotta pots, painted and filled by the service users. This is one way of encouraging insect predators to make a home in the garden.

speech mark1SHP is a London-wide charity originally established by a group of homeless people in 1975.  Today, SHP supports some of London’s most vulnerable people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, through the provision of supported housing and community-based support services. The Garden Project I lead on site aims to support the service users who are keen to get outside and garden, and give them an opportunity to grow food, cultivate and make their space attractive for animals and people alike.

As Garden Project Worker my role is to provide weekly sessions to get service users involved in gardening and planning activities centred around the garden; come rain or shine we will be outside tending to the beds! Some of the activities we have done so far include clearing the garden space, establishing new beds for food growing using recycled materials, planting bulbs, sowing seeds, and making bug hotels. As these people are already faced with much instability in their lives, these sessions aim to give purpose to increase confidence. As well, I hope to teach them the skills necessary to go out and grow for themselves one day.   At the moment we have broad beans coming up strong, and the tomatoes sown only last week have already germinated!  

Susanna also volunteers for OrganicLea…

speech mark1I also volunteer regularly at OrganicLea, which is a workers cooperative, growing food on a 12 acre site on the edge of London. They have their own veg box scheme, a weekly market stall, and the organisation supports community gardens in the area. Their vision is to create a fair food system where power is taken away from corporations and put back into the hands of the people, to provide locally sourced organic food to communities. Organiclea provide people care, and make fair shares possible.

Hanging out in the apiary: making a hedge from willow

Hanging out in the apiary: making a hedge from willow

It is a great place to learn all sorts of new and unexpected skills.  I recently learnt how to mix cement and lay concrete- something I would never thought of doing before. This month we have been doing lots of mulching; layering the fruit trees, bushes and rhubarb with woodchip and council compost. We have been turning the compost, building beds with aluminium, making paths, working on the vineyard, planting trees…a wealth of activities exist and now that spring has officially begun and the peach trees have started to bud, the work will only continue to become more exciting and varied. Above all Organiclea is a place that nurtures people and creates communities that welcome anyone; it gives a sense of hope in a time when people feel more speech mark2and more disempowered over food systems and their impact in society. 

Best bits…

“The best bits about volunteering outdoors means I am constantly in touch with nature, which instantly makes me calm; I forget that I am in London and instead working in ancient woodland, with the whistling of the birds and swaying of trees as companions.”

Get involved:

  • Investigate volunteering opportunities with SHP via their website and Do–It.org
  • Find out more about volunteering at OrganicLea online, or drop in to one of their open days held at Hawkwood Community Plant Nursery on the last Sunday of each month 12pm – 4pm. Just show up and join in.

30 January 2015 – This week’s top 5 volunteer opportunities

January 30, 2015

Top 5 London (2)

1. Volunteer receptionists urgently needed, and other roles at Positive East
When: At least one (five- hour) session a week.
Where: Stepney Green

Positive East is the leading HIV charity in East London, providing a range of services for individuals and communities affected by HIV.

Positive East

Working as part of a volunteer team, you’ll be based at Positive East’s office in Stepney, and travel and lunch expenses will be covered.

You need to be able to commit a minimum of one 5-hour session per week for a 6 month period.  All reception volunteers receive additional ‘on the job’ training for this key role.

To find out more about this role and other roles at Positive East visit their website.

2. Join the Camden Green Gym
When: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 10.45am – 2pm 
Where: Camden’s Local Nature Reserves, Parks and Green Spaces incl. Adelaide Road Local Nature Reserve, London, NW3 3QB

  • Get active in your local green space with the Green Gym inTCV Camden
  • Keep fit while working outdoors and giving back to your local community
  • Discover hidden gems of nature on your doorstep and help increase their use and biodiversity through a range of nature conservation tasks.

Events are run across nature reserves, parks, community gardens, and in partnership with local charities. Have a look at tcv.org.uk for more information.

3. Community Clean With Providence Row
When: Mondays Between 11 and 1. 
Where: The Dellow Centre, 82 Wentworth Street, London, E1 7SAprow

Homeless charity Providence Row helps around 1,200 people a year with advice and support for housing and benefits, and helping vulnerable people with mental health and substance misuse issues.

Unfortunately the alleyway next to their building is in need of some TLC and they are looking for some volunteers to offer two hours 11am and 1pm on Mondays. Find out more about providence row’s volunteering opportunities at providencerow.org.uk

4. Home Library Service Volunteers needed
When: Flexible
Where: Royal Voluntary Service, Maidstone Road, Sidcup, DA14 5HS. Then around Bexley and Thamesmead for visits. make-difference-to-the-lives-of-older-people

RVS needs Volunteers to help the Home Library Service deliver and collect books, DVDs or CDs to older people who may be housebound or have mobility issues. The service provides regular, friendly and social contact for older people. It’s a great opportunity to:

  • make new friends
  • be part of a great team
  • develop skills and experience
  • contribute to the work of the charity by enriching the lives of older people.

Find out more about this opportunity on the RVS website.

5. Sound Advice UK needs a Community Music Event Volunteer sound
When: Sundays
Where: St Peters Crypt, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA.

Sound Advice UK is a community based music and media project created by local media and creative professionals, who organise ‘Acoustic Sundays’ – an exclusive monthly event, run by a team of dedicated volunteers.

This is an ideal opportunity for volunteers with an interest in music and performing arts. Apply on the Team London website.

 

This week’s top 5 volunteer opportunities

January 23, 2015

Top 5 London (2)
1. Centrepoint need a Gardener, Admin person and IT Tutor
When: Ongoingcentrepoint1
Where: Central House, 25 Camperdown Street, E1 8DZ

80,000 young people experience homelessness every year. Centrepoint gives homeless young people a future, supporting them through housing, education and training. Visit centrepoint.co.uk for more information on their volunteering opportunities.

2. Kith and Kids volunteering opportunities
When: Training starts on 29th Jan 2015
Where: The Irish Centre, Pretoria Road, London. N17 8DXKith and Kids

Kith and Kids need volunteers to support young adults with autism and/or mild learning disabilities to develop employment and life skills on fun daytime sessions in North London.

No experience needed, just enthusiasm and energy! Training, support & travel expenses are offered.  Call Rich on 0208 801 7432, email rich@kithandkids.org.uk or visit their website for further information.

3. Volunteer with The Remakery
When: Apply by 31st January 2015
Where: LambethThe remakery

Interested in writing newsletters, designing flyers, social media, organising and advertising events? Be part of launching an incredible space for their community.

The Remakery is a cooperative run fully by volunteers. They are working towards launching a hub for enterprise, training and community projects centred on the re-use of waste materials.

They want to create accessible opportunities for disadvantaged, low-income residents and ultimately contribute to Lambeth Council’s aim of reducing waste destined for landfill. They’re looking for a volunteer who can support on communication, events and/or marketing.

Interested? Contact Angela Rouse on angela@remakery.org. To apply, simply email Angela a letter outlining your interest and skills by 31 January 2015. Check out their website for more information.

4. Volunteer for Relate
When: Ongoing
Where: Across LondonRelate

Relate offer counselling and support for all relationships.  Relate Centres are looking for people with time to spare to help with:

  • working in a Relate charity shop
  • volunteering as a receptionist or administrator
  • offering expert support to a Relate Centre e.g. IT support.

Interested?  Contact your nearest Relate Centre at relate.org.uk to find opportunities.

5. S.P.I.D. Theatre Company needs volunteers
When: Tuesdays
Where: Ladbroke Grove

spid

S.P.I.D is an award winning professional theatre using site specific theatre to engage people within neglected environments. They are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to support:

  • workshop facilitators when leading sessions at
  • backstage on performances
  • office administration and marketing.

Develop your communication and facilitation skills, work alongside professional theatre makers and learn how to deliver theatre games and exercises.

No previous experience is necessary, but an interest in theatre and a motivation to empower and inspire young people is a must. Apply at voluntarywork.org.uk today.

Get involved:

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