GEORGE, VOLUNTEERING HIS SOFTWARE SKILLS AT CIB

George volunteered to compile a list of community support providers for Community Impact Bucks but went further and designed a useful look-up tool.

What led you to volunteer? I had finished my University course and, while waiting for my results, I was keen to do something useful with my time and knew through my Mum about the valuable work carried out by Community Impact Bucks.

What was your role for CIB? Ever since the Covid vaccination programme started up, Community Impact Bucks has been receiving many calls for people asking for help with transport to the vaccination centres. The charity had information about some community transport groups but they knew there were probably other local groups which may be able to offer transport to vaccination centres those who could not get there under their own steam. I was asked to do some research and compile a full list of groups providing this support.

How did you develop the role? I started out doing exactly what was asked: I researched details of local community groups offering support including what type of organisation they were, the areas they covered and how to get in touch with them. While recording the research results in an Excel spreadsheet, it occurred to me the spreadsheet could be turned into a look-up tool based on postcodes – thereby making it easier for the charity to access information.

What do you gain personally from volunteering? Although I had used Excel during my degree course in Economics, I had not previously used the system in this way; I can now add this new skill to my CV as I think it shows how I am able to problem-solve and deliver more than expected.

Did anything surprise you? This project was a much more fulfilling experience than I thought it would be. I liked that I had the freedom to design the tool and to work to my own timetable, fitting in tool development work around my job-hunting. I am very pleased that I’ve now been asked to develop a similar tool for other types of transport request.

What difference does volunteering make to others? The tool now allows anyone in Community Impact Bucks helping someone with transport to a vaccination site to type in the postcode of the caller and find the nearest organisations offering support. It saves the charity time and the tool could be adapted for use in other areas within the charity in the future.

Would you recommend this type of volunteering? Yes – I would suggest to anyone that they should think about what they can offer and go ahead – you may just learn a new skill.

 

If you would like to find out more about volunteering, visit our I want to volunteer webpage or contact Lew Headley on 01844 617229 or lew@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Updated on April 15, 2021

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Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society