Volunteers’ Week 2014
At 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.