This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

May 13, 2016

1.Hackney Winter Shelter
hackney winter night shelterWhere: St Anne’s Church, Hoxton
When: Every Saturday – 4.30 – 7.30pm 
Category: Food, Homeless, Shelter
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Hackney Winter Shelter run a soup kitchen at the back of St Anne’s church in Hoxton every saturday. They serve a three course dinner for up to 60 people a week. You can come along on an ad hoc basis to set up, serve food, wash up and chat to guests. If this is something that interests you, email Leanne:

2.Beanstalk Charity
beanstalkWhere: Various 
When: Various
Category: Education, Young People
Commitment Level: Ongoing

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. As a Beanstalk reading helper you will work with children on a one-to-one basis. You would be working with 3 children and would see each child for two 30-minute sessions a week during term time. For more information see here and to register your interest email:

3.Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
greenwich and docklands international festivalWhere: Greenwich and Docklands
When: 24th June – 2nd July
Category: Festival, Arts, Theatre
Commitment Level: Various

Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is London’s leading festival of free outdoor performing arts. They are looking for enthusiastic and dependable people who can help make the festival happen. There are a variety of roles – to see more and apply, click here.

4.Tottenham Ploughman Riverfest

Where: Lordship Hub, N17
When: 29th May 11am-6pm
Category: Festival, Rivers, Community
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Tottenham Ploughman Riverfest are looking for volunteers to film the event, hand out leaflets in advance and to help compere the stage. The RiverFest is an opportunity to bring communities together and to make their rivers better. To find out more, click here. If you are interested in getting involved, please email Cheryl:

5. Play Days

play daysWhere: Lordship Rec, near Bruce Grove
When: 26th June
Category: Community, arts, 
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Play Days is a festival of (child’s) play for adults. It’s about communities coming together and having a good time. There are a variety of opportunities in event production, event management, games facilitation and craft workshop leaders. To find out more about the day and to express your interest, click here.

Spotlight on Sam: property guardianship in Thamesmead

June 12, 2015

Since joining Dot Dot Dot in January, Sam has already volunteered over 48 hours for local projects around Thamesmead…

“Property guardian? Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” This comment from a neighbour at my first Sam1     residents’ meeting brought me right down to earth. Perhaps more humbling was the man under the impression I was a homeless person being forced to volunteer for 16 hours a month in exchange for a roof over my head. This was not the red carpet welcome of which I had entertained occasional fantasies.

But despite the occasional scepticism of others I remain convinced that property guardians can be a hugely positive force. Being labelled a ‘guardian’ means people come to you for help, and in turn you are more likely to offer it. After said meeting I helped a neighbour pull down an intimidating old black tent from a fence that near her flat in an isolated part of the block. In turn she pointed out a discarded clothes drying rack that I am still using. Quid pro quo.

It sometimes feels tough being in exile from your comfort zone.  One day after coming back from work I got a knock on the door from a neighbour who had latched on to the ‘guardian’ aspect and asked me to have a word with some boys playing outside ­- kicking the ball up in the air over and over again near a row of parked cars. Though tempted to weasel out of it my conscience kicked in and I assured her I would indeed have a word.

Marching outdoors I realised this was a terrible error. Teenage boys tend not to cower in my wake. Who was I kidding? But turning the corner, to my relief the boys were walking off of their own volition. I did consider going back to my neighbour and taking credit for it until, yet again, my conscience intervened.

Sam often does some litter picking around the lake in Thamesmead.

Volunteering is central to Dot Dot Dot’s property guardianship. Some of my favourite moments in Thamesmead have been with the Early Words Together project run by the National Literacy Trust. This is a national scheme pairing volunteers with families with pre-school children to help them develop literacy early on. For an hour a week, you meet with a family and do craft, stories, songs or whatever will enable them to bring words into a child’s early development.

I admit that fifteen minutes of trying to stop a child pouring glue all over the floor wasn’t quite my dream of coaching three year olds to quote Shelley and Shakespeare. But then, after making a spider with the same child, while getting them to say the colours and shapes of all the craft materials, I started to understand the value of this fantastic project.

I hadn’t done litter picking since getting a week’s lunchtime detention in Year 10 for persistent lateness. In Thamesmead, however I’ve realised that it is a great way to both clear up and explore the local area. You can even combine it with other chores like shopping, though I have to warn you I did nearly take a man’s eye out in Morrison’s with my picker.

I’ve also been able to lend some professional fundraising advice to a local drama group; Cadz Productions. Cadz provide free drama workshops to local residents encouraging confidence, motivation and increasing community participation, and cohesion


The Link community centre.

I’ve barely touched upon the immense variety of Thamesmead that includes The Link, a brilliant community centre, the sprawling nature reserve, the horses that pop up everywhere, and the beautiful Southmere Lake. And the bit where A Clockwork Orange was filmed. Getting the chance to be an active participant in such a unique environment is frequently a treat, even when things don’t quite go to plan.”

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

Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s

April 16, 2015

 OliverOliver tells us about his volunteer role with Project Gutenberg…

“Consider my mindset: I want to help people but I’m not the bubbly, entrepreneurial type. You probably won’t see me collecting abandoned peanut shells to craft recyclable water collectors any time soon. I admire people who do that, but I have to admit it’s not my forte. I’m more the quiet, bookish type – very thoughtful, but perhaps also very out of touch.

Which is why my current volunteering role really strikes a chord with me – proofreading public domain works for their conversion into e-books and publication as part of the Project Gutenberg archive. (via Distributed Proofreaders)

Project Gutenberg (PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, encouraging the creation and distribution of eBooks. Founded in 1971 by Michael S. Hart, it is the oldest digital library.   Project Gutenberg

His aim was to provide as many e-books in as many formats and languages as possible for the entire world to read.  And for the project to continue spreading public literacy and appreciation for literary heritage just as public libraries began to do in the late 19th century.

As of February 2015, Project Gutenberg has over 48,500 items in its collection, and another  100, 000 available via partners, affiliates and resources. The project tries to make these as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer.

I’ve always read a lot – in fact, at school, I had to be forcibly restrained from reading through class, through my own birthday party and, often, through the night. For better or worse, it was literature that made me what I am, and which remains for me a private universe totally free of the vanity, inequality, prejudice, injustice, catastrophe and conflict that beset the outside world – problems which, perhaps, voluntary work exists to balance out.

I’m very aware that correcting the odd misspelled word doesn’t help people in the way as, say, bundling age packages or serving soup. But it plays to my strengths – and more importantly, it’s something I believe in. There are many worthy causes, but I think the best volunteer work occurs when you find one that resonates with you – and few things have helped me more than access to a variety of literature. Because, no matter who you are, I think that somewhere out there are words that could change your life.”

The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

We asked Oliver what his favourite part of this volunteer role is…

“In the past couple of months I’ve seen Melville theorise the human condition through his pre-Moby Dick journals. I’ve tracked the disillusionment and eventual destitution of an 18th century infantryman through his diary. I’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s at the death of Socrates  – and each time I’ve known that someone is going to share these experiences thanks, in part, to my work on the project. And for me, that makes it worthwhile.”

 Get involved:

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:

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 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.

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.