Make a Difference Through Volunteering – Ed’s Story
Like many of us, the coronavirus lockdown left local teacher, Ed Cooke, with more free time on his hands. It also laid bare the inequalities so often missed in society – a combination that drove him to volunteer in his local community.
Through VCH, Ed found a way to support Hackney through volunteering with BADU Community, a charity that supports young people to achieve their potential and become positive forces in their communities. Throughout lockdown, with the help of volunteers like Ed, BADU have been packaging and delivering food to families in need.
Why did you decide to volunteer? On the news I was hearing stories of normal people volunteering in their spare time for their community and this resonated deeply with me. In Hackney… there is a lot of deprivation and I felt as if I had to do my part given that my situation at home is okay, while for others it may not be.
What did you do in your volunteering? Once a week I would collect cooked food from another volunteering group in Mildmay Community Centre and take that to the distribution centre for BADU… where young people who were also volunteering their time packaged the food donated from different people and businesses. Myself and other volunteers would then be given the packages and asked to deliver to families in Hackney.
How did you find volunteering? I did really enjoy [it], and in the time where I was always at home it gave me focus and motivation. For me, the most rewarding part of volunteering was a sense of actually doing something; where I have the ability to do something about it.
Would you recommend volunteering to others? I would always recommend [volunteering] to others. The main thing I would say is be open to anything and everything… There is that saying of ‘charity starts at home’… [b]ut then when home is good and the lifestyle is good, surely charity needs to start elsewhere?
This [experience] has definitely showed me how communities can come together when things can get dire. I would like to thank VCH for giving me an outlet to do something in my local community and experiences I may not have ever got elsewhere.
Register and search for volunteering roles across Hackney here.
Find out more about BADU Community, the work they do and how you can get involved, here.