Get Involved Fair
Lewisham Local held its first virtual Get Involved Fair. The aim of the event was to allow local organisations and community groups working in Lewisham to outline the important work they do and the volunteering opportunities they can offer. 8 community groups attended and pitched to over 50 potential volunteers, afterwards they were invited to meet organisations in breakout rooms, and asked questions. Out of the participants, 87% said they were interested in volunteering.
Organisations that attended included:
AFRIL seeks to help refugees in Lewisham integrate with their community and become empowered to rebuild their lives through providing advice, access to food banks, help to learn English, integrating activities and more. Their current volunteering roles include:
- Drivers to help with delivering food packages to refugees.
- Allotment of Refuge project with One Tree Hill: AFRIL holds 3 plots on the allotment and aim to re-love the land using a grant from the mayor. They hope to develop the allotment into ‘a living breathing community’ where people can come together, garden and enjoy the site. They are looking for volunteers to help online to support and inspire refugee families to learn about gardening and the allotment over video calls. They will also need volunteers to help on the allotment, but this is on hold for the moment and they hope that this volunteering role will be available very soon.
Age UK Lewisham and Southwark is a local charity which provides essential support to older people. Currently recruiting for:
- The Food2You service, which is a food and delivery service for vulnerable older people who are even more in need due to COVID-19. Volunteering activities have been adapted to abide by COVID safe regulations, and the volunteering role itself is very flexible with a weekly rota where customers are called on Monday for their shopping list and then the shopping is done and delivered over the week.
Ageing Well in Lewisham provides services to encourage older people to live fuller, more connected lives. During lockdown, this has been restricted to regular phone calls, the provision of activity packs and supplies, arranging food deliveries and other services, helping with access to information and advice, and connecting people online. Volunteering roles:
- Phone call befriending where volunteers provide much-needed conversation for isolated older people.
- Due to lockdown, there is also a need for volunteers that are tech savvy and patient, who can help someone on the phone with troubleshooting or explaining how to use online applications, such as zoom and social media.
GCDA (Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency) works to support communities to be healthy and sustainable through training programmes, the creation of community hubs and other activities to promote healthy lifestyles. Current volunteering roles:
- The cook and freeze food project, which provides cooked meals for people who need them: the role includes chopping vegetables, portioning out food, labelling containers and helping to clear up.
- Walk leader for the Lewisham Healthy walks and Nordic walks, which are on hold at the moment, but hope to start up again when it is safe to do so. Volunteers will receive support and training from GCDA.
- The Food Surplus Hubs: tasks include, unloading and loading, lifting crates, and sorting out food for different community groups.
- Support the running of the ‘Made in Greenwich’ shop after lockdown.
- Admin, digital and support roles: support with website development and updating, managing social media and finding stories, contacting participants by phone to collect information and so on.
Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network work with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who are destitute, homeless or have no recourse to public funds. They have projects such as, immigration advice, a mental wellbeing project for BAME groups, campaigning work and more. Current volunteering opportunities:
- Volunteer drivers to collect food and deliver food packages.
- Social media volunteers to help with social media posts and have a broader look at communications.
- Volunteer interpreter to help people who have little or no English ability to access services.
MS Society Lewisham Group provides services to local people with MS from, providing essential information, emotional support and help to get financial support. Key quotes from the organisation: ‘the critical thing for us is trying to stay as connected as best we can in our community’. There is an ‘estimated 45% of us not in the digital world’ and it vital that the other 55% provide support to those not able to navigate the online space. Volunteering roles:
- Help with administration, this involves helping to run the group efficiently, arranging meetings, communicating with volunteers, etc. This will be home-based work with an induction and training process.
- Help carry out fundraising online.
Morden College is a charity that provides older people with accommodation and care. From providing housing for subsidised costs in their care homes to providing support through phone call befrienders. Current volunteering roles:
- Looking for caring and friendly telephone befrienders. The older people may want to share stories, have a conversation, or simply have some reassurance that someone will call them once a week.
- A new site will be opening and volunteers will be needed to help out on the site when it is safe to do so.
Voluntary Services Lewisham provides services for isolated and vulnerable people. Main volunteering roles:
- Befriending over the phone. Looking for happy and sociable people who can initiate conversations and provide support. A Disclosure and Barring Service check is required.
- Transport (post-lockdown) – minibus drivers and passenger assistance roles will be open in the future.
- Mental health drop-ins (post-lockdown).
- We delivered a very successful Christmas project to support 2,800 people by providing food hampers, vouchers, toys for children, toiletries for vulnerable people and more. Volunteers bought resources, packed hampers, sorted through gifts and helped to deliver them. Christmas comes around very quickly, and we will need volunteers to help out in 2021, so keep an eye on our website.
One organisation said they feel quite well-informed being involved with Lewisham Local due to the number of ways they have been connected and find out more information, whether that is through emails, attending training and conferences, and discussion groups or subscribing to Lewisham Local newsletters. It is easy to be a volunteer, or conversely, recruit volunteers in Lewisham. Check out Lewisham Local’s website to access any of these resources and find out about more events.
Specifically, the Lewisham Local discount card is beneficial for volunteers as it works to reward volunteers through discounts up to 50% off at local shops. Community organisations are also eligible. Local businesses are supported too!
- Visit the Lewisham Local website to find out more: https://www.lewishamlocal.com.
- Sign up to Lewisham Local’s newsletter here: https://www.lewishamlocal.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/.
- Find out more about the Lewisham Local discount card and register here: http://www.lewishamlocal.com/card/.