Volunteering brings communities together, says Nurun Begum, Volunteer Centre Manager at Redbridge CVS, which provides information, training and support to organisations and residents
The Volunteer Centre Redbridge is based at Redbridge CVS (Redbridge Council for Voluntary Services) in Ilford and aims to make Redbridge a place which values volunteering and recognises the contribution volunteers make to the community. We support organisations in recruiting volunteers and, importantly, help guide volunteers towards the right organisation and roles for them.
Volunteering not only contributes towards social cohesion, bringing local communities together to achieve a common goal, but improves mental well-being, builds confidence and tackles isolation and loneliness. It can also provide a helpful pathway to employment, particularly for younger people or those returning to work. This is evident from the positive feedback from volunteers and organisations we work with, such as Age UK, who are currently recruiting for a kitchen aide in Wanstead. One of their amazing volunteers, a 66-year-old who regularly helps in this role, said: “I am sure some people may feel nervous about making the decision to volunteer. Perhaps it takes them out of their comfort zone. But I can wholeheartedly recommend it.”
I am always awestruck when I meet the many incredible people who show such dedication and compassion in their volunteering roles and give up their free time for worthy causes. And it is great to see the launch of the national campaign for volunteering, The Big Help Out, to promote volunteering to a wider audience. The initiative kick-starts with a national day of volunteering on the Coronation bank holiday, encouraging people to pledge their time, whether a single day or regularly.
I am passionate about breaking down barriers which deter and hinder people’s volunteering experience, and keen to continually source volunteering opportunities which are as diverse as the communities we live in. My team and I will be hosting our annual Volunteer’s Fair at the Town Hall in Ilford on 6 June (11am to 2pm) and hope to meet lots of prospective volunteers. Plus, we hold monthly workshops open to anyone who’d like to find out more about volunteering in the borough. We also offer a one-to-one, confidential, drop-in service for anyone who’d like to discuss opportunities individually. We strive to ensure people have a positive volunteering experience that is both meaningful and mutually beneficial to individuals, organisations and the community.
If this has inspired you to volunteer, take a look at our website to view the current opportunities and register your interest for the roles. We can often get people started on their volunteering journey almost immediately.