By Georgia Bowers, Community Engagement & Volunteer Co-ordinator, Spurgeons Children’s Charity
“I needed to get my confidence back… Volunteering opened my eyes to show me I could do more”
(Spurgeons Aylesbury Volunteer)
In 1867, Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, driven by a desire to tackle poverty and injustice, founded an orphanage which became the children’s charity known as Spurgeons today. Although the face of our work has changed, the need is just as great today as it was then. Our mission is to give every child the opportunity of a hope-filled life. As an organisation we believe in the value and potential of every child, recognising every person as a unique individual, deserving of respect and we won’t walk away, even when that means making tough choices. We are a nationwide organisation, but in Aylesbury we are nestled in the heart of the community and offer a wide range of services such as:
- Weekly activities and sessions for parents and their children (aged 0-5).
- Family Support who work in partnership with local families to provide information and support.
- And lastly we run an extensive volunteering programme, where members can work alongside our Early Years Team, Family Support Team, run their own group/activity, support administration and much more!!!
As I’m sure you can imagine, charitable organisations such as ours are always in need of extra support through volunteering and as the Community Engagement and Volunteer Co-ordinator that’s where I come in.
What do I actually do?
My dual role requires me to regularly and actively engage with the community, and explore how we as an organisation can build and forge lasting partnerships that can benefit not only us, but our local neighbours as well. Under this, I lead on the recruitment and management of our wonderful volunteer programme, which sees individuals from all walks of life offer a couple of hours or sometimes even a whole day of their time for free. Together with our dedicated team of specialists in the field of early years and child development, our volunteers are taken into the heart of our organisation as they help to support, assist and even run their own groups or activities at our busy children’s centre.
Taking this into consideration, my everyday routine is varied, and no day is the same. Often, I will be out in the community attending local events, community centre activities, or meeting with other charities to share practice and ideas regarding the recruitment of volunteers. Recruitment also often involves posters in local settings such as libraries or supermarkets, speaking at public events, visiting local colleges/universities, and I also find that utilising social media platforms are a great way to get our message out there. In the same day, I might also be back in the office interviewing potential volunteers, or supporting those who are working with us on that particular day. This might include a regular catch up to see how they are getting on, or seeing if there is any way that we can support their growth or development. Previous volunteers have taken part in staff training days and courses alongside our team which have supported their personal and professional development, and in turn, their new found knowledge feeds back in to our organisation.
What skills does a volunteer need?
To volunteer with us there are no set specific requirements or qualifications needed. Rather, we are always looking for those who are committed, open and trustworthy, who also have a real interest in the development and wellbeing of children. So, if you are interested in developing or gaining new skills, are passionate about children, or you would like to have the opportunity to give back to your community, then you are exactly what we are looking for!!!
Would you like to volunteer with us?