This Week’s Top Five Volunteering Opportunities

April 8, 2016

1.East London Garden Space Volunteers
butterfly2Where: Various
When: Flexible
Commitment Level: Low

Cleaner Greener Volunteers are looking for both small garden spaces and volunteers to maintain them in East London. You would help to improve places in and around East London and receive support for doing so. Contact sam.dundas-dunbar@towerhamlets.gov.uk for further information.

2.ToolShed ‘Get Our Centre Ready’ Day
toolshedWhere: High Wycombe
When:  27th April
Commitment Level: Low

ToolShed are a social enterprise looking to help disadvantaged people gain skills in manual trades. As well as looking for volunteers generally, they are having a day on the 27th April to help them prepare their new centre; anyone is welcome to come along and help out! Email info@toolshedbucks.co.uk for more information.

3.FEAST West Norwood
feast wnWhere: West Norwood

When: First Sunday of each month
Commitment level: Low – Moderate

FEAST is a people-powered community market that takes place on the first Sunday of every month from April to December.

The market is run entirely by volunteers, with West Norwood residents and businesses working together to make it a success. Being a FEAST volunteer is a great way to make new friends and have a lot of fun at the same time as doing something really feel-good and positive for the local community.

There are a wide variety of volunteer roles available – from stewards to hub organisers, to behind the scenes roles such as marketing and project management.

If you’d like to volunteer on market days, help plan and organise in between Feasts, or find out more, go along to an open meeting at The White Hart pub in Tulse Hill (Tuesdays 6.30 – 8pm), or send an email to hello@westnorwoodfeast.com.

4.The Bike Project
bike projectWhere: 12 Crossthwaite Avenue, Denmark Hill, SE5 8ET
When:  Every Thursday 5-8pm
Commitment level: Low

Go and learn how to fix a bike at the Bike Project in Denmark Hill.
Anybody is welcome down at our workshop, with no experience necessary. All you need is a willingness to get stuck in! During the sessions, friendly mechanics are there to assist and support. This is a great way to learn some bike maintenance skills. Check out their website here or call on 020 7733 8098 to get in touch.

5.Divest Bexley

divest bexleyDivest Bexley is part of a global climate change movement. They are calling on Bexley Council to divest (disinvest) from fossil fuels. This campaign is run by some of our current guardians. If you are interested in getting involved get in touch with Sam at samueltmartin@hotmail.com.

 

 

BONUS OPPORTUNITY

6.Sense

Sense-LogoWhere: Tower Hamlets
When: Various (The organisation are looking for people who can buddy on a Saturday)
Commitment level: Ongoing commitment 

Sense are looking for people to spend time with deaf blind young people as buddies or as part of a schools club. To apply, fill out the application form which is on the website and send it to thvolunteering@sense.org.uk.

Dot Dot Do It

April 5, 2016

It’s not just our guardians who choose to volunteer. This is what staff member Sophie has to say about her time volunteering in Calais: 

Calais 3‘Over the bank holiday weekend, I joined the hordes of people queuing at Dover ferry port to leave England. Unlike the families with cars full of picnics or young people looking for some sun, I was determined for this not to be a restful break, but a productive one.

Ever since the body of three year old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey, I have watched the refugee crisis intently, and have been horrified by the conditions that people are living in. At the end of March I decided to do something and joined the masses of volunteers going to sort and pack donations in storage warehouses in Northern France.

There are a variety of grassroots organisation such as Help Refugees and Care 4 Calais who are tirelessly working to distribute donated items such as clothes, toiletries and kitchen equipment to refugees.

Calais 1The warehouse seemed like a different world to me. The boxes, mountains of donations and high-vis jackets are a world apart from our Dot Dot Dot office.  I spent the first two days of the bank holiday sizing clothes donations, creating hygiene packs, folding tents and carrying mattresses.

As a volunteer, I quickly grew used to the pattern of life in the warehouse – packing and sorting until my hands were sore and only stopping for a delicious vegetarian lunch. I was told that volunteer turnover was astoundingly fast, and experienced this myself, with a whole variety of new and exciting people to talk to each day as I worked.

Calais 2On my third and final day in Calais, I ventured into The Jungle as part of a litter picking team. Having heard about the area for months, it was still shocking to finally see it with my own eyes, especially after the partial dismantling that has occurred in recent weeks. The image that has stuck with me was the phrase ‘Free Doom’ written on the side of one of the makeshift shelters. Despite what they’ve been through, the refugees were in good spirits – laughing and joining in with our litter picking and celebrating the cricket score.

Despite arriving home on Sunday evening emotionally and physically drained, my time in Calais was very worthwhile. If you are thinking about going out there, I know that Help Refugees would appreciate any volunteers.’

(Credit to Nic Schlagman for the photos)

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