An important part of the Here To process is to regularly check-in with the residents, organisations and community groups using the website.
This offers us a great chance to find out about people’s Here To success stories: why they decided to get involved, how they have benefited as a result and how they think we can improve the Here To experience.
Dave’s Here To story is a great example of how allowing local people to start small by helping out in bite-sized chunks, empowers people to become more committed in the longer term. Helping out at Holloway Neighbourhood Group has also seen Dave’s confidence soar!
Read on to find out more about Dave’s Here To story…
Having been unemployed for 2 years after a hip replacement ended my career as a builder, I was looking to build my career again and to start getting a bit of experience on my CV to help with future job-hunting. I previously volunteered some 25 years ago as a BTCV conservation volunteer and really loved and valued the experience. I was hoping I could have a repeat experience for 2014 and I’m pleased to say that I have indeed.
I am interested in all things ‘tech’, so I really liked the clear and easy look and feel of the Here To website – in short, there was no faffing about! I was particularly attracted to the Holloway Neighbourhood Group (HNG) opportunity that involved running an eBay auction to raise money for the charity. I was very surprised to see this opportunity counted as volunteering as I always thought of the term being more related to ‘care’. The project appealed to me as I am already an avid eBay-er and I live just around the corner to the Old Fire Station where HNG are based. HNG got back in touch with me really quickly after I signed up and so got stuck into the project pretty much straight away.
Running an eBay auction of DVDs for HNG was an ideal opportunity for me as it enabled me to contribute to something meaningful locally with minimal commitment. As I am on a journey to rebuild my confidence, flexibility is crucial to allow me to move at my own pace. I’ve has also met new people as a result of getting involved with HNG and I have also explored having a go at a few of the other activities run at the centre, such as the exercise classes!
I really appreciated the warm and friendly welcome I have received at HNG and have a much clearer idea of what it takes to be part of/run a busy community organisation. In terms of skills, the eBay action has honed my ability to conduct thorough research online, carry out e-retailing effectively for a community organisation and to network effectively: I have made contact with the Hungerford Road Group and have proposed a collaboration between them and HNG to use the DVDs to establish a film club.
I have been enthusiastic and positive about my experience so far at HNG and this has led me to help out more generally around the centre, putting my D.I.Y background to good use and getting involved in the other projects. I’m hopeful that helping out at HNG will continue to build my confidence and enable me to get back to work in the future. I am equally open to sharing my research and tech skills and experience of surveying/building diagnostics with other local community groups if required!
My overall thought is that once you get the volunteering bug, it becomes something you always do. Some of my friends don’t understand why you might use your free time to help others, but my experience is that you get a lot back from it too.
Lucy from HNG says:
“We are really pleased to have David on board. He is making himself very useful and is a pleasure to have around.”
Inspired? To sign up to help out locally or to make a call out for volunteers, visit our main website islington.hereto.org.