Volunteers’ Week 2019 – Connecting with your community
From 1 – 7 June, people across the country will be celebrating Volunteers’ Week, recognising, rewarding and celebrating the people that give their time to support their communities. Over the next week, Volunteer Centre Hackney will be sharing the stories from some of the 100s of people involved in volunteering and social action across the borough. In our first blog, meet Ayo!
Ayo volunteers in Hackney with Read Easy as a Coordinator. Read Easy is a Hackney based organisation that supports adults to learn to read through the use of Readers (learners) and Reading Coaches (Mentors).
Ayo’s volunteering journey began whilst he was studying in college, where he had a passion to support young people through an organisation called Access to Sport, and since leaving college has volunteered in a range of different capacities including as a Volunteer Police Officer and as a Volunteer Children’s Activities Worker to serve the community.
Ayo wanted to have a volunteering opportunity alongside his paid work which could help him to develop line management skills, something he felt he needed to help him progress in his paid employment. After meeting Volunteer Centre Hackney at an outreach talk at Hackney Council’s Service Centre, he signed up with VCH and started to search for volunteering roles. Ayo found himself ‘amazed by the number of opportunities’ he was presented with and had a ‘light bulb’ moment when he found his role with ReadEasy. Within a few weeks of expressing interest, Ayo started volunteering with Read Easy.
‘I feel more connected to issues that were not on my radar – about adult literacy and the challenges around it.’
Along with becoming more connected to local issues, Ayo’s volunteering experience has helped him to develop his own skills, particularly around recruitment – most recently he was involved in a volunteer recruitment drive, ultimately placing about 14 volunteers. His big take away – especially through the recruitment process – has been ‘the exposure to new people and to be able to get the best out of them.’ Another lesson learnt is the importance of professionalism and treating everyone equally, whilst taking people as they present themselves, and thinking about personal bias on his part throughout the recruitment process.
‘I am very happy with my volunteering experience; it has given me a lot of satisfaction and I was able to make meaningful contributions’.
Follow us on Twitter all week for some of top volunteering tips from local people making a big difference @vchackney
If you want to make a difference in the community like Ayo, drop by to VCH’s offices this Wednesday 5 or Thursday 6 June, 10.30am – 5pm and discover 100s of different ways to volunteer. Click here to find out what’s on.