Spotlight On: Volunteers’ Week

June 8, 2016


volunteers weekThis week is ‘Volunteers’ Week’. It’s a chance for third sector organisations to say thank you to the millions of volunteers who make their work possible. For more information about the week and to take a look at the celebratory events being held across the country, click here.

At Dot Dot Dot, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Since we started, our guardians have done the equivalent of many years worth of volunteering. Volunteering with large national charities like Crisis and Stonewall, organisations local to where they live such as Tower Hamlets Friends and Neighbours and Richmond Park, and projects they’ve helped to get off the ground like The People’s Kitchen and Divest Bexley, all our guardians have been dedicating their time to making a difference.HACT blog

Our need for committed and dependable volunteers is especially great because we trust our guardians to be great neighbours for the communities we work with. On this front our guardians have exceeded our expectations: seeking out opportunities to get involved with great local causes, assisting neighbours through gardening help, litter-picking schemes and by generally being the friendly faces next door.

So thank you guardians!

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

Volunteers’ week top five opportunites

June 5, 2015

Top 5 London (2)

To celebrate volunteer week, we’re looking back at guardians’ volunteering throughout the year and picking our top five opportunities that you can get involved with.

1. Acton Homeless Concern
Where: 1 Berrymead Gardens, Acton, London W3 8AA
When: Ongoing    Hannah and Mats
Acton Homeless Concern provides a drop-in day centre for homeless people and people from other disadvantaged groups. Guardians Hannah and Mats have been volunteering here since 2014, where they help with providing support, advice and food. They currently run two drop in centres; one provides lunch, showers, a GP, counselling, advice and other health services, while the other provides refreshments and social activities. They are always looking for volunteers who can spare a few hours now and then to help the people who visit the centres. There are lots of ways that volunteers can contribute, from giving advice on housing and benefits, to helping serve the lunch. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer then please contact Ian Breen on 020 8992 5768.

2.Envision
Where: Various locations across London, Birmingham and Bristol
When: Ongoing, during term time.    Susanna
Envision aims to engage young people in social action that develops their own skills as the same time as benefiting others. The project was set up to challenge the stereotype of ‘the youth’ as being apathetic and disengaged with the issues going on around them. Renee volunteers with Envision, as a team mentor, where she meets sixth formers on a weekly basis at their school. Throughout the school year, she has explored what issues the young people feel strongly about and talked about what they can do to influence change. Envision are looking for some more team mentors – take a look here to apply.

3.SHP
Where: 245 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8QY
When: Ongoing    Susanna
SHP is a London-wide charity that 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. Their goal is to prevent homelessness and promote social inclusion. A recent campaign run by SHP helped 260 homeless and vulnerable people join the electoral register. Susanna runs a garden project on site that aims to support the service users who are keen to get outside and do some gardening. Susanna gives them an opportunity to grow food and make their space attractive. If you would like to volunteer with SHP too, please look here to express your interest

4.Mind Yourself
Where: CAN-Mezzanine, 49-51 East Rd., London N1 6AH and various locations around London. When: Ongoing Lucia2

Mind Yourself has a mission to improve the physical and mental well being of the diverse Irish communities living in London. Lucia runs the Mind Yourself singing group, where she holds weekly singing sessions for the members to enjoy. Mind Yourself are looking for volunteers to bring fresh ideas, motivation and commitment to their activities and research. They are currently looking for a group leader for their men’s group, a general group leader, assistant group leaders and accompaniment volunteers. If you would like some more information about these roles, please look here or contact Sam at sam@mind-yourself.co.uk or 020 7250 8100.

5.Body & Soul
Where: 99 Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4RE    Alex and Jonas
When: Ongoing
Body & Soul is a charity that promotes the respect, dignity and well being of children, teenagers, adults and families living with and affected by HIV.  They aim to counteract the devastation of a HIV positive diagnosis with strategies to reduce isolation and stress, promote active lives, create a voice for human rights and improve health and well being. Jonas and Alex assist and deliver music workshops which empower young people to create their own pieces of music or spoken word. The workshops run for four weeks and by the end, the young people will have recorded and produced finished pieces that they can feel proud of. If you would like to give your time and skills to help Body & Soul, then please take a look here.

Take your volunteering with you on holiday, by Margriet

June 2, 2015

Here at Dot Dot Dot, we’re celebrating volunteers week (1-7 June) by thanking all of our guardians in London and the South East, who donate their time to a range of causes.

One guardian in particular, Margriet, even finds time to volunteer on her holiday! From festivals to thrift stores, Margriet shares her experience in her blog…

Marge

speech-marks-copyVolunteering and travelling make a wonderful combination. Instead of taking selfies with famous sights and ticking off a Lonely Planet must see list, you could experience your travel destination as a local, have a great time and make a difference.I included volunteering in a few mini trips lately and had some great experiences.

 La Tour

Being a cycling enthusiast, I was over the moon when I was offered the role of volunteer production assistant with Electric Pedals during their bicycle powered cinema at the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling.

EP1

Electric Pedals uses bikes to generate electricity and promotes sustainability, exercise and energy appreciation. They are active at events, schools and a few of their sets can be found in some of the most remote places in the world.

After waking up in a tent in a beautiful location and seeing the official start of the Tour de France, we set up a huge cinema screen in the middle of the campsite. When the sun set the documentary Bicycle was shown, using the power of 25 cyclists! When the film finished we took everything down again in the dark and enjoyed Yorkshire for the rest of the weekend.

EP2

Rock ‘n Roll

During a family visit in the Netherlands I volunteered at Bibelot, the music venue where I used to volunteer and later had my first real job. The organisation is run by over 100 volunteers and managed by a small professional staff.

SoreLosersStagePic

On this Friday afternoon I was a ‘production assistant’ and helped setting up for the show of The Sore Losers that evening. This included checking the dressing rooms, unloading a van and gluing the shoes of the singer of the support act! It was great to go back to my roots, get a look behind the scenes, and experience great team spirit.

Thrifting #1 Prague

There’s only a few things that make me happier than thrifting and finding useful pre-loved items and the occasional gem. The Praha Thrift Store was started by an American couple that couldn’t find any second hand shops in Prague. What makes this shop different than the charity shops we know is that they raise money for a different charity every month and let their visitors decide what charity to support.
PrahaShopNameIt seemed like I showed up at just the right time that last afternoon of my stay as I could keep an eye on the shop while Angi, a student from Hungary who was on duty that afternoon, was enjoying some lunch. I helped tidying and finding space for new donations. The shop turned out really popular with expats and tourists and it was a great way to spend my last afternoon in Prague.

Thrifting #2 Edinburgh

August in Edinburgh means Fringe! and after exploring the city and seeing some comedy, I decided to walk up to a charity shop to see if I could help out.

Marge Edinburgh1

I liked the look of the Salvation Army shop, which was run by just Jennifer on the Monday I was there. She was super friendly and before I knew it I was changing the shop around to prepare for the colder autumn weather.

speech-marks-copy2I created a display at the back of the shop and met some lovely people while Jennifer was sorting out new donations. At the end of the afternoon the shop was ready for the new season and I found myself a few nice pre-loved souvenirs!

Dot Dot Dot Guardians have volunteered a total of over 4000 hours of their time so far in 2015! If you’re a great volunteer looking for affordable housing, find out more about becoming a guardian today.

 

Volunteers’ Week 2014

June 6, 2014

vols-week-2014-logo-with-30-badgeAt Dot Dot Dot we always jump at the chance to celebrate all the effort and hard work our guardians put into their charitable commitments. So because this week is Volunteers’ Week 2014, we decided to tally up the number of hours donated over the 12 months since Volunteers’ Week last year and are delighted to reveal that the figure is just over 18,000 − the equivalent of 11 people working full-time all year for good causes.

All our guardians volunteer for at least 16 hours a month, and the average guardian donates 24 hours each month with some outstanding people, like Jenny Barratt, spending over 70 hours a month helping others. Whilst completing her PHD, Jenny is a volunteer caseworker for the International Family Tracing service at the British Red Cross, a listening volunteer with the Samaritans, and a member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute’s (RNLI) volunteer crew.

“Being a guardian with Dot Dot Dot has enabled me to take up a range of volunteering opportunities,” explains Jenny. “Volunteering isn’t just a big part of my weekly routine but also my identity. I have gained a huge amount both personally and professionally and have benefited from the substantial time and resources the various organisations have invested in me.”

Other guardians are proving to be invaluable assets to organisations such as Bump Buddies, the Hackney Winter Night Shelter, Spitalfields City Farm and GoodGym. On top of that, some guardians have set up their own award-winning socially minded enterprises, including Speakset, Inter-Voice and Furry Tales.

Ione Rojas, with the support of the Dot Dot Dot team, set up Furry Tales − an organisation delivering animal-assisted activities for older people in East London to combat social isolation and loneliness. The idea was born while Ione was volunteering at Stepney City Farm. Ione said: “after struggling to balance work and voluntary commitments prior to Dot Dot Dot, it is now incredibly satisfying to be able to invest more time in such activities and I am looking forward to seeing where the next steps lead.”

Local communities in Poplar and Stepney Green are also seeing instant benefits in the shape of guardian initiated projects such as weekly litter picking and hula-hooping fitness classes for residents.

Outstanding volunteers sit at the heart of what we do and each and every one of our guardians contributes, in big and small ways, to making London a better place to live. In the country as a whole, volunteers make a huge difference − 91% of charities in the UK are run by unpaid staff. On top of all that, they add almost £40 billion to our GDP. It’s especially nice to have a reason like Volunteers’ Week to celebrate all the brilliant stuff they do.

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