10 easy volunteering options to get you started

February 17, 2020

One of the best parts about being a Dot Dot Dot property guardian (other than affordable housing in places like central London) is getting to give back to your community through regular volunteering work of your choice. Through volunteering, Dot Dot Dot property guardians are able to gain experience and meet new people, whilst helping make their communities safer and stronger. However, if you’ve never volunteered before you might be asking, “where do I start?”. If you’re unsure how to get started you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve compiled our top ten organisations where it’s never been easier for you to begin volunteering.

1.The Dragon Café based in Borough, London, offers an antidote to loneliness and isolation often felt by those who suffer from mental illness. They offer signposting and mental health support, as well as activities like Tai-Chi. Simply turn up on any Monday at 1pm and ask for Lu, who will tell you all you need to know about how you can help.

2. If you’re looking for a reason to ditch your gym membership, Good Gym has got you covered. Combining getting fit with doing good, it’s a great way to jumpstart your motivation for exercise whilst also contributing to your local community. Be it running to meet an older person for a weekly cup of tea and a catch-up, to running with a group to help out on community projects, there is a range of ‘missions’ in locations all over the UK that you can join. Simply fill out the application form here and get started within 2 weeks.

3. SANE provides ongoing emotional support and information to people experiencing difficult circumstances or more serious mental health issues. Their helpline, text care and support forum services are provided by volunteers who undergo a training programme to acquire the right skills and knowledge to support those who turn to SANE for help. Find out ways that you could volunteer here.

4 StreetLink helps members of the public to link people sleeping rough to local services that can give them support. Their London-based volunteers direct vulnerable people away from sleeping rough and instead point them towards appropriate organisations that have the resources to help. They are always in need of volunteers to help during the daytime, evening or weekends. To join their team and help combat homelessness, email volunteer@streetlink.org.uk.

5. Until there is a cure, Dementia Adventure is finding ways to live better with dementia. The charity dedicates their time to supporting people with dementia to get outdoors, connect with nature, themselves and their community, and retain a sense of adventure in their lives. As a volunteer, you can support their Dementia Holidays, become a Community Ambassador or Community Fundraiser.

6. Volunteering with Missing Maps means you can help to inform and maximise the relief efforts of organisations such as The Red Cross who work tirelessly to provide aid. Volunteers use satellite images and a drawing tool to mark up buildings, rivers and roads in remote areas that may have escaped previous mapping. Recent initiatives include the Nepalese earthquake and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

7. Thames 21 is committed to cleaning up London’s 400-mile network of waterways. Through huge cleanup events and community engagement, they are working towards the improved condition of rivers and canals for people and wildlife alike. If you are looking to make an impact on your local environment, the project has a huge calendar of events that you can view here. For the majority of the events, there’s no need to book; all that’s required is that you come prepared for the weather!

8. With 39 community eating projects running across the country, Foodcycle is creating a network of social eating cafes that offer a free hot meal and flowing conversation. If being part of your community is important to you, get involved with food collection, cooking meals or hosting at the projects by filling out a simple volunteering form here.

9. Silver Line utilises telephone befriending by way of a 30-minute weekly call, to provide friendship and support to anyone over the age of 65 who experiences feelings of loneliness. By volunteering as a telephone friend, you will be matched to an older person based on your own profile of interests in order to ensure genuine and lasting friendships. To help tackle isolation in communities, complete an application form and return to volunteering@thesilverline.org.uk.

10. The Big Issue Foundation’s core philosophy to ending poverty and exclusion for good is to help people help themselves – vendors use their own funds to buy magazines to sell at their own profit or loss. By extension, The Big Issue Foundation connects vendors with the services and support they need, enabling them to build their futures. Sign up here to volunteer to change lives.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out do-it.org or WhatCharity to narrow down your search in London and the UK.

To find out more about how volunteering and guardianship go together, check out our community website page or read some more of our property guardians volunteering stories here.

Spotlight on: Simon – Volunteering with Running!

December 22, 2016

This blog was written by Simon, a guardian currently living in Eltham and doing lots of running related volunteering.

Spotlight on: Simon

I am approaching my first year as a property guardian with Dot Dot Dot, and I have really enjoyed being able to enhance my volunteering work for running events and local groups. These events have included major city races (Virgin London Marathon, Vitality North London Half), local running club events (Mornington Chasers Regents Park series) and fantastic community initiatives like Parkrun.






Parkrun is a free weekly 5km event, organised entirely by volunteers and open to runners of all abilities and walks of life. Over 1000 parkrun events have been set up in parks across the world, and 61 of these are based in London, starting at 9am every Saturday, rain or shine. Volunteer roles include race directing, time keeping, course marshaling, run photography and barcode scanning (for recording positions and times).






The most exciting recent development in my volunteering experience has been my involvement with the Gladstone Parkrun guide running team, in Willesden Green. This event has three regular attendees who are either blind or partially sighted, and the volunteers have established a core team of guides to assist these runners around the undulating two-lap course. Parkruns are a great place to experience guide running for the first time (for the runner and the guide), as these events are rarely held near roads and will use a consistent, easily navigated route every week- perfect for building up your confidence, and to set both guide and runner a regular challenge and opportunity to improve their run.

If you are interested in learning how to be a guide runner, feel free to contact the Parkrun UK website. Experienced guide runners can be added to the UK Athletics Guide running database, and can be requested to attend training and race events.

So thanks to Simon! If you’re interested in becoming a Dot Dot Dot guardians like him, saving money on rent and volunteering locally, apply now.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

June 3, 2016

1.Volunteer at Dagenham Farm

HACT BLOG 2Where: Dagenham Farm, Very East London
When: Wednesdays and Sundays
Category: Urban Farm, Organic Fruit and Vegetables
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc (with induction)

Growing Communities is a social enterprise that set up the Dagenham Farm in 2012, following Barking and Dagenham Council’s landmark decision to lease the disused Central Park Nursery site for community food growing. The Dagenham Farm is now one of London’s most productive urban farms – producing over 6 tonnes of organic fruit and vegetables every year in the heart of Dagenham. They’re looking for new volunteers for Wednesday and Sunday sessions – all you need to do is one induction. Visit their website here for further information, or contact former Dot Dot Dot guardian Lucy at lucy.nacsonjones@growingcommunities.org

2. Royal Museums Greenwich

Where: Greenwich
When: Various
Category: Heritage, Museums
Commitment Level: Ongoing Commitment

Develop your skills and contribute to the work of the Royal Museums Greenwich. There are a variety of current volunteering opportunities on offer at the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Cutty Sark and the Queen’s House. For more information, click here.

3.Shuffle Festival

Where: Mile End
When: First 2 weeks of July 
Category: Culture, Festival, Community
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Shuffle Festival explores the kind of city we would like to live in. The week-long festivities involve film, science, storytelling, performance art, architectural installations, walks, food, comedy and music. They aim to keep tickets affordable with the revenue providing funds for long-term neighbourhood projects. They’re looking for volunteers to help build and run the festival in the first two weeks of July. Fill out this form (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EcNror6ObZI9Zi4Uk0DrrK8bnz6lHCvpW5tmgjfcoPM/viewform ) or email avni@shufflefestival.co.uk for further information.

4.Befriending Team Volunteer

Goodgym2Where: GoodGym, Somerset House
When: Ongoing from June
Category: Admin, Running, Befriending
Commitment Level: Regular Commitment

GoodGym are looking for a volunteer to come and help them coordinate their befriending teams, who combine exercise with befriending of older people. This is a great opportunity to gain some experience with a growing and exciting organisation on a voluntary basis. Apply via Charityjob here.

5.Summer Fair Stewards

Where: Vauxhall Park, SW8 1PU
When: 26th June
Category: Community, Festival, Stewarding
Commitment Level: Ad Hoc

Friends of Vauxhall Park are lokoing for people to help at their Summer Fiar on the 26th June. They need help putting up gazebos, notices etc from 10am on the morning of the fair and then to do general stewarding duties during the fair itself (1.30-5pm). To find out more, click here.


Spotlight on the London Marathon

May 4, 2016

Sunday 24th April saw the masses head out across London to do a combination of running, shouting and volunteering at the iconic London Marathon. The community spirit means that it really shows London at its best.

ldn mrthOver 39,000 runners took to the streets to run the gruelling 26.2 miles. It struck us that it is amazing that 39,000 people care about a variety of causes so much, from Cancer Research UK to Guide Dogs that they chose to spend the long winter months training. They raised an incredible amount of money for some really worthwhile charities, making a huge different to the lives of so many.

Whilst thinking about this, we also thought about our great property guardians who spend 16 hours of their time each month volunteering for a large number of causes and charities. So far in 2016 this amounts to a grand total of 10,669 hours or 5.5 years of full time work.

londn marathWe wanted to explore the reasons that they volunteer, and allow them to express their motivations on our blog.

Jordan, who volunteers for Thames Reach said, ‘I take people who are homeless off the streets and into a centre where they receive further help. I do it because no one should be without a home in 2016.’

Pete, who lives with us in East London told us that volunteering is an important part of his life. ‘In the past people’s kindness and practical help have enabled me to learn and to progress in many aspects of my own life. Without this help in the past, I wouldn’t be equipped to help others as I do now. Therefore, volunteering is a way of showing my gratitude, while equipping young people with the skills needed to be of help to others in the future.

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

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.


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 5 Volunteer Opportunities

January 16, 2015

Top 5 London (2)

1.The Vitality North London Half Marathon needs event volunteershalf
When: 15th March 2015
Where: Allianz Park, Greenlands Lane, Hendon, NW4 1RL

​​The North London Half Marathon is a brand new event which expects to see 10,000 runners, and they need your help with either course, venue, infrastructure or information marshal roles.

The race starts at Allianz Park in Barnet, taking a traffic free route all the way to Wembley Stadium where runners will run the length of the stadium. The race then comes to a celebratory stadium finish back at Allianz Park.

This is a great volunteering opportunity that supports runners who will be fundraising for local and national charities. There are group volunteer opportunities and a free breakfast and event t-shirt will be provided! Visit their website to apply.

2. Chinese New Year 2015 London Celebrations
When: Sunday 22nd February 2015organization_logo
Where: 45 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 5QQ or Trafalgar Square, Westminster

London proudly offers the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia, showcasing a huge range of Chinese culture including lion dances, a parade led by The Lucky Money God and hundreds of performances. The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) are looking for a variety of volunteers to help with this event.

Visit lccauk.com for volunteer roles ranging from back office support, to front of house event stewards. As well as being a part of a colourful and breath-taking event, volunteers will also be issued a certificate of appreciation for their efforts and opportunities to take part in future events.

3. Wide Horizons Pond Restoration ProjectWide horizons
When: OngoingWhere: Wide Horizons Woodland Centre, Constitution Rise, Shooters Hill, SE18 1RS

Wide Horizons is committed to allowing children to experience the outdoors and adventure as part of their development.

They recently received funding to restore an on- site pond in a mature woodland in the heart of South East London. This opportunity would be great for anyone interested in ecological or forest management who would like some hands-on experience or anyone who loves being outdoors!

They need help with making the pond a vibrant and rich habitat and all ideas would be welcomed. Visit widehorizons.org.uk to learn more.

Shelter Box

​4. Shelter Box admin volunteers needed
When: Ongoing
Where: Canary Wharf

ShelterBox is a Cornwall​-based charity that delivers emergency shelter and equipment to families who have lost everything in a disaster.

ShelterBox, the south west’s disaster relief charity with a fast growing international reputation, has had a toe-hold in London for some years. But now it has relocated and expanded its London presence with a new office suite in vibrant Canary Wharf.  If you would like to get involved, email volunteering@shelterbox.org to apply.

​5. Finsbury and Clerkenwell Volunteers – lunch club volunteers needed
When: 9.30-3pm
Where: Vibast Centre, 163 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NG

Finsbury and Clerkenwell Volunteers do a range of volunteering including weekly befriending visits, telephone counselling, assisted shopping trips, helping with practical tasks as well as running weekly lunch clubs. Main duties for lunch clubs include:

  • Preparation of vegetables, fruit, etc.
  • Assist in serving of food, under the direction of the cook
  • Washing up and clean kitchen equipment, utensils, crockery and cutlery
  • Socialising with clients
  • Working alongside existing volunteers.

To sign up for this event, register through Hands on London or email mfcvolunteers@hotmail.com.

Jasmine Morris on Volunteering with GoodGym

September 16, 2013

“Running’s pointless. All you do is start at one point and run in a big circle until you are back where you began.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this, most of the time given as an excuse from people who don’t want to run and see no value in it. And I must admit at times I feel the same which is why GoodGym is a great incentive!

GoodGym - jasmine

In short, GoodGym takes groups of people who want to run and gathers them all in one place on a weekly basis.From that meeting place everyone runs together to a local community organisation or project which needs volunteers for a short amount of time.

The runners run in, get the job done and then run away again, back to where they started.


I have been going to GoodGym (almost) every week since Christmas and the range of activities and community organisations I have gotten to know over that time has been fantastic – one week I could be turning compost on Stepney City Farm to painting the inside of a local Church. I must admit there has been A LOT of poo shovelling and compost turning and although it is smelly work it is something I wouldn’t have a chance to experience if I was running for hours on a treadmill staring at a wall in my local gym.

But GoodGym is even more than this; they also match runners up to local older people who could do with a bit of company. The idea is that you run to your GoodGym coach (older person) have a chat and run away again. Seeing my GoodGym coach, Veronica, is always the highlight of my week. She gets me out there for a run even when it is the last thing I want to do because I know that she is waiting to see me. We get the chance to chat about everything from how gorgeous George Clooney is to the lack of local pubs and the subsequent breakdown of community!

So, there you have it, running doesn’t have to be pointless!

If you would like to come along to a GoodGym run just drop in to any session, they run from different areas on different nights – Monday = Tower Hamlets, Tuesday = Hackney and Wednesday = Camden.

– Jasmine Morris










The Guardians Half Marathon Team needs YOU!

September 6, 2013

On 6th October 2013, guardians David, Lawrence and I (Jessica) will make the epic 13 mile journey around the Royal Parks of London in an effort to raise money for the Bromley by Bow Centre.

This is a fantastic organisation that supports families, young people and adults of all ages to learn new skills, improve their health and wellbeing, find employment and develop the confidence to achieve their goals and transform their lives across East London, therefore thoroughly worth the blood, sweat and tears that will no doubt be experienced in training for the run.

This blog will provide updates on our progress, and of course is an attempt to drum up some support that we will no doubt both need since 13 miles is an awful long way!

PLUS: Do not miss the opportunity to donate to the runners using the links included in this blog!

As an introduction we thought we’d start with a profile on each of the runners:


Jessica Glass 

“Jessica in her Bromley by Bow vest”

Much to my parents’ total shock having done no exercise pretty much since birth, a few years ago I took up running as a way to keep fit, lose weight, and get some me time. And here I am about to take on my second half marathon. I began increasing my distance last year, and that made me think, maybe I could do some good with this running malarkey and get some sponsorship for running a proper distance.

Occupation: Accountant
Furthest run: 13.1 miles
Running Style: Sweaty Betty
Ideal post run snack: Flapjack and smoothie, yum.
Amount raised so far: £110 out of £450 with only 32 days to go so I really do need all the help I can get!




Jasmine Morris


Jasmine is not running the half marathon at Royal Parks but she will be running the Brighton Marathon next year so hats off to her! She first decided to sign up for a half marathon in 2011 cheering Bromley by bow centre runners finishing the Brighton marathon. Having never run it was a long journey to get ready for a half marathon but I enjoyed every minute of it. 2 half marathons later and it seemed fitting to celebrate my 2yr running anniversary crossing the finish line of the Brighton marathon and raising money for the Bromley by bow centre.

Occupation: Fundraising officer at the Bromley by Bow Centre
Furthest run: 13.1 miles
Running Style: Dee dee from Dexter
Ideal post run snack: Soreen Malt Loaf “The most amazing snack ever made”
Amount raised so far: None so far since the Brighton Marathon is not until next year, but Jasmine has agreed a target of £750 and will be organising lots of fundraising events so watch this space!



David Joseph 

David “Coach” Joseph

David is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon to try and achieve his own personal best. He has been elected running coach for the fundraising participants. After the Great British 10K, he felt so awesome that he knew he wanted a new challenge and a half marathon was the answer.

Occupation: Graphic Designer
Furthest run: 13.1 miles
Running style: Think “The Hoff” a la Baywatch
Ideal Post running snack: Definitely a banana swiftly washed down with a pint
Amount raised so far: David is not fundraising this time, but he says that if you want to donate you can put it towards Jess’ target (see above)!


Lawrence Walker


Lawrence was out running at the time of creating this blog therefore could not respond to the introduction questions. He is taking the half marathon very seriously having already raised £290.

For more information please go to his fundraising page:



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