Amplifying her volunteering efforts with Dot Dot Dot guardianship: Karin and the Open HR Forum – Students

May 6, 2022

With the added support of Dot Dot Dot guardianship, west London guardian, Karin, has been able to amplify her volunteering efforts to enable students to access mentoring from real world working professionals. Karin’s initiative, the Open HR Forum – Students, operates on an international scale to create opportunities for HR students to become leaders in their field.

Developing a passion for communication skills

“One of my first voluntary roles was supporting students and teachers in Slovakian primary schools to develop their interpersonal skills. Since then I’ve been passionate about improving communications between students and working professionals in order to bridge the gap between learning and practical experience in the workplace.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, I began a course in human resources with the Open HR Forum, to support my continued learning and development around communications in my home country of Slovakia.

I soon noticed a marked gap in the potential to access career consulting and work experience in Slovakia compared with the UK – the only options were for vast sums of money that were unaffordable for most of the students that I knew, including myself.”

Initiating a platform for students to gain real-world experience 

“I identified the need to establish a sub branch of the Open HR Forum specifically for students to gain practical experience and career consultancy. My main aim was to facilitate opportunities for people to be leaders in their field, something that was driven by students, for students, to dictate their own learning and development.

The initiative I’ve created helps to bring HR students together on an international scale, offering them mentoring and support from large professional organisations for free. Each student is paired with a working professional ‘buddy’ who is able to guide them towards applying their theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios.

They can also receive free advice form HR professionals during webinar sessions which has been really successful in helping to feed international knowledge back into the Slovakian education system.”

Utilising guardianship to re-divert time and energy towards volunteering

“Paying lower monthly living costs as a Dot Dot Dot guardian compared with the private rental sector means that I can afford to spend more of my spare time volunteering.

Dot Dot Dot recognising the value of volunteering is really powerful and was one of the deciding factors for me when I became a guardian in 2021. For me, volunteering comes naturally and is something that I’ve always felt comfortable doing – I’ve always cared about giving something back to my community, but being a guardian allows me to amplify my contributions and the amount of time I  dedicate to my initiative.

Guardianship is not for everyone, but there are many advantages to becoming one. I currently live in a large 4-bed townhouse in Hammersmith, west London, and share the property with a teacher, a human rights lawyer and a scientist. I absolutely love my guardian housemates and am so glad to have had the opportunity to meet them – we all have busy work and social lives, however we still find time to meet and relax as a household.

My relationship coordinator, Dominique, has also been fantastic. We feel supported by Dot Dot Dot and their emphasis on being there for the people as well as the property.”

Forming meaningful connections in Oxford: Mori and Oxford Community Action

October 28, 2021

Through their regular volunteering, Oxford guardian, Mori, is helping to redistribute food and spread the word about the work of Oxford Community Action in their local community and further afield.

We caught up with them to find out how the organisation supports Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities ‘to tackle and overcome barriers created by structural inequalities’ through grassroots activities and community engagement.

“I started volunteering with Oxford Community Action in August 2020. After I settled into my home, I started going to their Wednesday food distribution operations and became a regular volunteer.

I started off helping to pack up food parcels – we were in the basement of a school and we were packing parcels for close to 300 families. A few months later, I talked to Hassan, one of the leading organisers – he had been looking for someone to take over their social media department. For the last year or so, I’ve been the main person to coordinate social media advertisements, announcements and campaigns. I talk to organisers and think about how we can promote Oxford Community Action on Facebook. 

We used to reach out to people or organisations for support, but through my voluntary social media work we have started to see organisations getting in contact directly and asking if they can join up with us on certain activities. For example, we’ve got connections with Oxford IT Bank, an organisation that picks up laptops from organisations or individuals and drops them off to us at Oxford Community Action to give to families and school children who don’t have access to a laptop at home.

We also have connections with Willow Brook Farm just outside of Oxford, the first Halal and Tayib farm in the UK. They got in touch and we had a family day last summer where we took 80 adults and children to visit the farm. Building connections like these would have been hard before because we didn’t have a social media presence. Anyone who wasn’t friends or directly in touch with us wouldn’t have known about the organisation, but now there’s more knowledge about what we do and more people reach out to us.

There are many personal advantages to my volunteering too. As someone who is in the middle of a PhD I’m really immersed in that process and it’s lovely to have a mid-week break from what I’m doing. It offers me a community to come back to and that was particularly important during times like last winter when I wasn’t seeing many of my friends. 

Volunteering has provided me with a way to connect more with the people around me, and  with people who wouldn’t normally be in my social sphere. A lot of people at Oxford Community Action come from immigrant, working class, BAME backgrounds which, as a middle-class, white student, are different to the people I met at university. It’s allowed me to bridge these gaps and form meaningful connections. 

We’ve done so much work over the last year that has been a pleasure to be part of. Quite early on, we had an online event where we brought together a lot of BAME doctors and nurses to give community members a chance to ask them questions. Government efforts to provide equal access to and information about the vaccines are still sorely insufficient as unequal vaccination uptake data tells us, so to be able to bring together over 100 people to ask questions that they wouldn’t usually be able to ask a doctor or nurse, was an important moment. They could address some of the community’s anxieties and empower them to protect themselves and the people around them. We also recently started an event for BAME mothers, where they can talk about their experiences of maternity.”

To find out more about Oxford Community Action, visit their websiteYou can also keep up with our #10years celebration where we’re highlighting guardians from the past ten years and the voluntary organisations our guardians give their time to. 

 

Finding a sense of community in north west London: Farah and The Granville

October 21, 2021

Queen’s Park guardian, Farah, found a renewed sense of community in her hometown of north west London when she started volunteering for The Granville last year. The centre delivers food parcels to the local community and provides a multi-purpose space for people to come together.

“I had gotten really into gardening during lockdown and was looking to continue when I came across The Granville in May 2021. I started with Granville Community Garden and found out they were also running a foodbank. It runs twice a week, and I thought it was great to be involved as the pandemic made me realise the level of food poverty in the area. It’s also an opportunity to get to know local people.

My main role is helping with food parcels. Lots of the food is donated from local companies that have surplus and they donate in huge quantities. The volunteers go through the donations and divide it up. We make 100-150 parcels per shift and they all go to the local community. I also deliver to those who can’t come to The Granville. It’s nice to walk around the area and get to know it (and it’s good exercise!)

The gardening is connected, it’s been quieter at the moment but I’ve been maintaining the space throughout the summer and we will get started again soon. It’s grown by the community, for the community, and anyone can access it. There’s also an allotment.

It’s been a good way to get to know local people in a way I would not have normally. There’s a real sense of community spirit – everyone helping each other out. It’s taught me a lot and it’s the highlight of my week! 

One of the challenges is seeing face to face the poverty in the area and how many people rely on the foodbank. It’s made me realise also about my own food waste and use.

My favourite moment has been engaging with people when I deliver the food parcels. Often it’s the kids who open the door and it’s a sweet encounter, and they’re really funny and honest.

It’s been lovely having access to inexpensive housing. It has taken a lot of pressure off me, and I can do things like invest in my local community and feel more part of it. I knew the area as I grew up in north west London but now I am really part of it.”

To discover how you can get involved with The Granville,  visit their website.

You can also keep up with our #10Years celebration where we’re highlighting guardians from the past ten years  and the voluntary organisations our guardians give their time to. 

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.

Volunteering: Once you pop, you can’t stop

December 2, 2020

From our founder, Katharine Hibbert 

“Thank you for the diligent chivvying”

Perhaps it’s a surprising thank-you note to feel particularly good about, but one of the most cheering emails I’ve had from a Dot Dot Dot guardian was to let us know that his experience with us had changed his mind about volunteering.

He had moved into one of our homes prepared to volunteer for a good cause because he understood that it was part of our model, but he wasn’t very enthusiastic about it.   He had chosen to become a property guardian with us because we had nice flats at a good price in the right place for him, and because of our reputation for fairness and thoroughness.  He didn’t mind volunteering for the 16 hours a month we expected, but he wasn’t particularly excited about our vision of a society where people have the time and energy to give back to causes they care about.

But by the time he moved on from our housing, volunteering had become part of his life, and he carried on after he left – so he emailed me to say thanks for the accountability we’d created for him while he got going.

A survey to make us smile

This man’s email was unusual, but his journey wasn’t.  We recently surveyed our guardians, and of the nearly 100 people who replied, 98% of them said they plan to carry on volunteering after they leave our housing, even though nearly half didn’t volunteer before they joined us.  These responses are encouraging, since enabling people to get involved in good causes and supporting them to become lifelong volunteers is central to our purpose.

Two thirds of the guardians said they plan to carry on doing the same amount of volunteering or more than they have done while living with us, which means continuing to give at least half a day a week to a good cause, a significant commitment.  And two thirds of them volunteered within the borough where they live, meaning that our work has a directly positive effect on the local areas where we operate.

Of the 55% of guardians who volunteered before they joined us, more than half now do more volunteering than before.  Only 4% of guardians surveyed volunteer less than they did before they were housed with us.

A majority also replied that they experienced no down-sides to volunteering – although three in ten said they found it difficult to make time for it.  Covid-19 has also forced four in every five of our guardians to update their approach to volunteering – 11% now volunteer with a different organisation, 13% have moved their volunteering online and, for 21%, the venue in which they used to volunteer is currently closed.  Around a quarter are currently volunteering for less time than they did before the lockdown, while 10% are volunteering more.

When we asked guardians what benefits they experienced from their volunteering, the most frequent responses included the feeling of making a difference, appreciating the roots it gave them in their communities, the fact that it gives them more empathy with people in need, and their own improved mental health and wellbeing.

Giving a helping hand…to form a lifelong habit

These results – and feedback like that quoted above – are very important to us at Dot Dot Dot.  We are not here to press-gang people into doing something they would prefer to avoid.  We aim to attract and house people who want to volunteer and who would like a solution like ours to lower the barriers to doing so, and perhaps a bit of encouragement to actually crack on and do it.

We’re very clear with applicants for our housing that if they’d prefer not to volunteer, they’ll be better off with one of the other property guardian companies in the market – and in this respect it’s fortunate that the other providers don’t expect their guardians to help good causes.  We understand that not everyone has the time and inclination to volunteer, and that’s totally fine – it’s just that we exist for those who do.  So it’s great to see that our guardians are committed enough to their volunteering to continue beyond their time with us.

Our experience is that once people get involved with charities and projects that they care about, and once they are using their skills effectively alongside people they’ve got to know and like, the satisfaction and benefits of volunteering create their own momentum.  So even if getting involved is a bit of a chore at the beginning, it quickly becomes worthwhile in its own right. And those who didn’t volunteer previously are much more likely to report that volunteering has given them new skills they can use professionally and greater satisfaction. We’re glad this means that we’re helping our guardians to improve their own lives, as well as encouraging them to help others.

We’ve thought hard about the ways in which we can help to make volunteering as rewarding as possible for the guardians themselves, as well as impactful for the charities they help.  At its simplest, we aim to help people to find more time to volunteer by lowering their cost of living and providing homes in areas they couldn’t otherwise afford.  Many of those locked in the private rented sector have to work for longer or commute further than they ideally would, and the pressure saps their energy and enthusiasm for giving back.  Reducing the burden of housing costs frees them up to do things they would like to do but previously couldn’t.

On top of this, we find that by creating an environment where being a good neighbour and giving time to good causes is the norm, getting involved feels natural.  And the fact that we send round volunteering opportunities and check how all our guardians’ volunteering is going every month creates accountability.

We think of this aspect of our work as being similar to the role of a personal trainer in a gym.  Even if you know that exercising is good for you, getting started can be hard work and you may need a bit of outside help to get you to actually do it.  It’s not that the personal trainer forces you to do anything you don’t want to, they just reduce the amount of willpower you need to exert to get it done.  We hope that our contact with guardians about their volunteering does a similar job for them, in encouraging them to do something they would like to do anyway.

So while we’re very glad we’re able to support our guardians to collectively give thousands of hours to good causes every month, credit for the effort should go to the guardians themselves – they’ve found the charities they want to help and the roles they want to do, and they’re going to continue into the future.  We’re happy we’ve been able to provide some help along that journey.

You can see more of our guardians’ volunteering stories here. Or to find out more about how we are supporting our guardians to volunteer for good causes, why not read How volunteering helps everyone – not just the beneficiaries.

How volunteering helps everyone – not just the beneficiaries

October 29, 2020

From our founder, Katharine Hibbert

Supporting volunteering has always been central to Dot Dot Dot’s work – and our focus on it is something we are never asked to justify.   No one needs an academic paper to tell them that it’s worthwhile to support people who’d like to do good for others. And it’s easy to see that volunteers keep a huge range of worthwhile organisations going, from household names like the Samaritans and the St John’s Ambulance through to small local food banks and sports clubs.

But the indirect benefits to society as a whole of volunteering, neighbourliness and civic engagement go way beyond the benefits to individuals in need who receive help from volunteers, or to the volunteers themselves who get satisfaction from doing it.  People living in societies with more volunteering, more social connections and higher trust tend to be happier and wealthier, so participation deserves to be measured, celebrated and promoted for these reasons too.

Most current discussion of the benefit of living in a community where people are engaged – either by volunteering formally, getting involved in neighbourhood groups or helping others informally – traces back to Robert Putnam’s book, Bowling Alone, published in 2000.  In it, he argued that social capital is essential to a well-functioning democracy, and defined it as “connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them”. 

He also drew a clear link between the frequency with which people get involved in third-sector activities and organisations, and higher levels of trust and social capital.  As he put it, ‘‘civic engagement and trust are mutually reinforcing’’ and ‘‘the causal arrows among civic involvement…and social trust are as tangled as well-tossed spaghetti’’. 

While it usually takes a certain amount of trust and positivity to start volunteering or to get involved with a club or society in the first place, Putnam’s point is that doing so creates a virtuous spiral – the more you participate, the more positive you feel about others because you have more good experiences and you benefit from more reciprocity.  And this in turn makes you more likely to believe that most people are basically trustworthy, which encourages you to participate more.

This is good for individuals. Sociological research repeatedly shows that higher social trust is correlated with higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing, and we frequently hear from our guardians that their volunteering is positive for them as well as helpful to the causes they give their time to.  

But it’s also good for society as a whole.  Work by Marta Portela and others in the journal, Social Indicators Research, shows that the higher the level of social capital a country has on average, the more likely individuals in that country are to be happy and satisfied with their lives.  And these benefits occur even for those who don’t participate regularly – if you live around others who get involved and have a good opinion of their fellow citizens, your life is probably better too. 

It also makes us all richer.  A country’s average levels of social trust predicts its economic growth more accurately than its average skill levels, according to Dr David Halpern, the Chief Executive of the Government’s Behavioural Insights Team.  As he puts it, “Low trust implies a society where you have to keep an eye over your shoulder; where deals need lawyers instead of hand-shakes; where you don’t see the point of paying your tax or recycling your rubbish (since you doubt your neighbour will do so); and where you employ your cousin or your brother-in-law to work for you rather than a stranger who would probably be much better at the job.”  All of that makes life less enjoyable – but it also makes it more expensive and holds back innovation and entrepreneurship, making countries who lack social trust poorer too.

So even though most people who get involved in formal or informal volunteering do it because they want to help a specific cause and because they enjoy it, by doing so they are also making everyone a bit more likely to be happy and wealthy.  We support volunteering because of its positive impacts on good causes and on the volunteers themselves, but by doing so we hope we are also making a small contribution to building a more positive, happier and richer society as a whole.

You can find out more about our commitment to supporting the volunteering efforts of our guardians here, and read more of our guardian stories here.

Spotlight on: Elizabeth – Women in Localization

August 20, 2020

As Women in Localization UK Sponsorship Manager & Global Sponsorship Liaison, Dot Dot Dot guardian Elizabeth tells of how this volunteering role enables her to take action on a global scale, working to bridge the gap for students to enter the localisation industry, whilst inspiring the next generation to pursue a career they’re passionate about.

“Women in Localization’s mission is to foster a global community for advancement of women and the localisation industry, through networking, education, career advancement, mentoring and recognition of accomplishments. The non-profit organisation has 24 chapters worldwide and grows each year. Local chapters typically hold quarterly events which develop technical and soft skills, as well as networking.

In summer 2018, I was invited by the Women in Localization UK chapter as a guest speaker on the topic of remote working. I shared the stage with a panel of industry experts, exploring insights, educating and supporting the localisation community. I felt honoured to be included in such an event – being asked to speak so early into my career (1 year to date).

I participated in subsequent events and joined the core team in Autumn 2018; my role focused on sponsorship – responsible for coordinating event sponsors. Topics have included Machine translation, Quality Management, including overcoming impostor syndrome, career development and mentoring. The UK chapter has been involved in academic events, bridging the gap for students to get into the industry. I found it incredibly difficult as a Graduate progressing from unpaid internships to a full time job. It’s truly rewarding to inspire the next generation to pursue a career that they’re passionate about. We run a mentorship scheme which volunteers are encouraged to join – providing further support to the community.

A year later, I was invited to join the Global Programs, as Sponsorship Liaison, bridging the gap between the local and global teams. I’ve found a grass-roots perspective helpful while being able to take action across a global level, and several other volunteers are in a similar position, which focuses our group on the pulse of the industry.

During the lockdown, Women in Localization has adapted – all events have moved online, with several each month from different chapters around the world. Recently the UK chapter had a virtual pub-quiz to bring some joy during these difficult times.

In my volunteering experience, I’ve made some lifelong friends, with selfless values and compassion, for which I’m incredibly grateful. The UK chapter has a diverse group of skilled, amazing volunteers that are simply brilliant. Always doing what they can to help others.

Anyone considering volunteering, or even undecided, should certainly give it a try. It has certainly changed my life for the better.”

To find out more about Women in Localization, search #WLUK and #WomeninL10n on Twitter, and follow the links below:

Women in Localization – UK Chapter

Women in Localization – Global

This story is part of our Summer Series collection. If you have your own story to tell or a project you’d like to shout about then please contact us at volunteeringstories@dotdotdotproperty.com. Read more volunteering stories from our guardians on our website, and stay up-to-date with the latest news from our Summer Series on Instagram.

How volunteering can help you live a happier life

March 16, 2020

Whoever you are and whatever your age, volunteering can give you the all-important help you need to divert your focus away from daily stresses, maintain a healthy mindset and add more spice to your life. Research shows that those who volunteer regularly live longer than those who do not. As we grow older, volunteering encourages us to walk more, to better manage everyday tasks, and to keep our blood pressure at a healthy level – not forgetting keeping our minds more active. So keep reading to discover five ways that volunteering can help you live a happier life.

1. It connects you to others

If you’ve recently moved to a new area, you might be feeling lonely or wondering how you can strengthen your ties to the community. One of the best ways you can make new friends and reduce social isolation is by volunteering locally! Whether you’re outgoing or are shy and find it difficult to meet new people, you will be able to mix with others who share your interests and values, which in turn will make it easier for you to integrate into your neighbourhood and provide you with a broader support network. There’s no shortage of fun and fulfilling voluntary activities in London and the UK, so don’t wait – get started today.

2. It’s good for your mind and body

Volunteering has long-term positive effects on both your mental and physical health. The National Centre of Volunteering conducted a study on the benefits of volunteering on mental health and what they found was incredible. 80% of participants reported a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing through providing structure, a sense of purpose and improved confidence and self-esteem. 

If you’re feeling the effects of stress and anxiety, volunteering with animals or outdoors is a brilliant way to combat these feelings and reconnect with nature. Studies show that immersing yourself in a natural environment has a positive impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, is inherently rewarding and calms the nervous system. Ultimately, this helps to generate a higher degree of openness, connection and generosity towards others! Volunteering with the National Trust or the Dogs Trust are great gateways to getting yourself outside and being at one with planet Earth.   

If you’d really like to get active and give back at the same time, check out Good Gym. With plenty of fun, volunteering activities to get involved in, it’s the perfect place to get started!

3. It can advance your career

Another aspect of volunteering is that it can help you to gain experience in your area of interest and even meet new contacts who could help you. Volunteer work may be unpaid but that is not an indication of the value in the skills that you will take away. Many voluntary programmes offer extensive training, and most will give you the opportunity to practice all-important workplace skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving and project planning. Putting these to good use in the voluntary field might mean that you have more confidence to be able to put them into practice in your work life! 

If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can also help you try before you buy. Without making a long-term commitment, you can test the waters to figure out whether or not it’s the right option for you. 

4. It brings fun and fulfilment to your life

To get the most out of your volunteering, consider your goals and interests. For instance, do you want to: 

  • Meet new people
  • Try something new
  • Do something good in your spare time
  • Find new things to do in London
  • Help the community you live in
  • Work with adults, children, animals or from home

Your experience will be all the richer if you feel excited and motivated by the field. Keeping passion and positivity in mind is the most important thing where volunteering is concerned. Yes, you’ll be learning new skills, but it’s not critical to a fun and fulfilling volunteering experience. Many people like to volunteer outside of work to make time for hobbies they love doing! For example, if your 9-5 desk job doesn’t allow for much time spent out in the fresh air, you may like to volunteer one day a week helping to plant a community garden.

5. You’re helping others

Researchers have found through measuring hormones and brain activity, that the simple act of helping another person results in feelings of happiness. The concept is simple: as humans, we are hard-wired to be generous to others, and so the higher the level of generosity, the happier we’ll then feel. Through volunteering, you are directly helping others and the community, giving you a natural sense of achievement, pride and identity. If you feel better in yourself, you’ll naturally develop a more optimistic perspective on life and your own future. 

We’ve discussed just a handful of ways that volunteering can positively impact your life, but there are hundreds of happy outcomes that can be personal to you.

To read more about how volunteering and guardianship go together, check out our property guardian’s volunteering stories here along with tips to get started.

5 great places to volunteer in Greenwich

February 4, 2020

If you’re looking to make a positive difference in your community, then you might be a perfect Dot Dot Dot property guardian.

At Dot Dot Dot Property we’ll offer you more affordable housing and the opportunity to join a community of people who think getting involved and making a difference is important. With our properties in Greenwich coming soon, we’ve delved into the area’s volunteering hotspots to bring you 5 great opportunities to make a positive impact.

1. Give your time to Volunteers Supporting Families

Established in 2013, Volunteers Supporting Families has since been dedicated to recruiting and training volunteers to mentor and support families with children at risk of being subjected to neglect or harm. As a volunteer, you’ll be matched to a family and conduct weekly visits to offer advice or a listening ear for any problems they may be facing. Through these visits, you’ll be helping to keep families together, helping parents to improve their parenting skills and reducing pressures and reliance on social care services. Apply now to offer your support to families at risk.

2. Make emergency food accessible at Greenwich Foodbank

Members of the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network, Greenwich Foodbank is driven by volunteers to ensure that emergency food is accessible for people in crisis. They have a number of voluntary roles available from warehouse volunteers, where you will be responsible for sorting through donated food and making parcels for collection. There’s always room to volunteer at the centres to manually hand out these parcels, or just have an informal chat and cup of tea with people who are in crisis and need signposting towards further support. They’d love to hear from you, so get in touch to join their ranks today. 

3. Help someone get back on their feet with Emmaus Greenwich

First and foremost, Emmaus Greenwich supports people to work their way out of homelessness by giving them the support they need to make a permanent change. Through having a home, meaningful work and a sense of belonging, those experiencing homelessness have the tools to gain new skills and the confidence to get back on their feet. They have a number of voluntary roles on offer including driving, book sorting, social media, upcycling and at local charity shops. Apply to volunteer with Emmaus by emailing volunteer@emmausgreenwich.org.

4. Get your hands dirty at Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

Four acres of freshwater habitat and home to a surprising array of wildlife, Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park has rapidly become an established and bio-diverse urban wetland. With the help of a team of dedicated volunteers, the careful balance of habitats is maintained to take care of the varying wildlife species that call it home. Each Wednesday and Saturday you can volunteer to clear flora and fauna – the best part is, you don’t need to have any prior experience! Email gpep@tcv.org.uk to get your sign up form.

5. Provide vital care at Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice

Local charity, Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice care for over 2,500 people with terminal illnesses and their families each year free of charge. As they only receive a third of their funding from the NHS, they need to fundraise £5m every year in order to be able to continue to provide this invaluable service to the community. They are significantly supported by volunteers and have available positions for whether you can only spare a few hours or commit to a regular day or evening. Get in touch at volunteersdept@gbch.org.uk to hear about specific availability.

We love when Dot Dot Dot property guardians volunteer in their local communities but it’s not vital. Check out do-it.org or whatCharity to find thousands of volunteering opportunities across 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.

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.

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