How to make a Volunteer Army…

My podcast with the @workhubs Cafe Garage Project –

“So how do we organise a group of people, without telling them what to do, make it inspirational, have them showing up at the right time… it’s got to be like a fun engageing community project?”

Here’s how I answered!




Community through Volunteering: Waltham Forest

I’m happy to be heading to Community Waltham Forest’s Spring into Volunteering event on 22nd March.  community waltham forest

I’ll be talking through some online training ideas, signposting to resources and hopefully meeting other people (like you?!) who coordinate community action in my area.

Are you involving people in Waltham Forest?  Come along and share what you’re up to.  This borough has SO MUCH going on, and I’m looking forward to seeing some joining up of dots. s and S poster.jpg Community Waltham Forest’s website has a space to add your own events – I’ll be throwing our Stories and Supper event on there today!  You can also add your own volunteering opportunity.

Come and say hi, tell me what you’re up to and I’ll let you know about the opportunities going on at The Hornbeam, the exciting campaigns to keep our community spaces (like Higham Hill’s Library campaign) and the heart-warming Stories and Supper project happening on April 1st.  See you there!


Spare Time or Spare Rooms…

A sprawling monologue in which lots of us do a little bit.

Yesterday I was really anxious and preocupied with work.  I do insist on having ideas (this time it’s interactive online training) and I find following them through quite anxiety-inducing.

Starters-and-Info-768x768Then I got to the Stories and Supper project, where we are planning a supper club that challenges some media narratives on refugees and also supports the refugees themselves. A young guy was there – he’d been there in week 1 and i wasn’t sure we’d see him back. He has just got his status – and a month later, is now out of his ‘asylum seeker’ accomodation and homeless. In the UK, you get one month after being allowed to stay to find a job, access English lessons, find the deposit for a room, find a room.

It put my anxiety in perspective.

Anyhoo. I said “let’s refer you to Refugees at Home.”

I happen to know they rock because we have hosted. R@HLogoSMI got random bits of information out of him and told them on their nifty online form (developed by a volunteer, as was everything) the little I knew about him (“His favourite food is a tomato salad with lemon juice and garlic” – it is a food project we’re doing so that was pretty much all I know! That – and he smiles alot).

I said “I hope… I try…” we smiled… and we left it at that.

This afternoon I got an email. Turns out two other people have also referred him. So it didn’t matter too much that my details were patchy.  Perhaps it was just enough.

And there’s a guy in London who can host him for a few nights. They’re working on a longer plan. And they bothered to tell me too.

MalikcropSo across London, people are doing these little bits. And they’re adding up to something. I’m so glad.

If you can host, just for a few nights, please consider it. It will have a long term affect.  I came across a pretty beautiful story of hosting today too- in Germany.  And the guy who stayed with us has a room now.  This is us on his last day. CHEESY PIC!

If you’d like some great online forms to make your Volunteer Coordinator life easier, if you work in Volunteer Management or involve people as a volunteer (like every single one of the lovely people at Refugees at Home) you might be interested in this training and a free taster session.  Access from anywhere.  See you there!

Training: Volunteer Disclosure Checks

Volunteers… CRB…  DBS… Regulated Activity…  Barred Lists… Confusion.

A half day interactive worksh0p addressing the recent changes in criminal record checks for volunteers,  and all the great ways if keeping your organisation and volunteers safe. 

I can deliver this for your organisation… please get in touch.

  • Picking apart the JARGON
  • Activities: checking real-life volunteer roles
  • Visual explanations of different levels of check
  • Group discussion to explore individual recruitment issuesDBSFlow2auto2

This is a great way for small and medium organisations to find out about  changes to the system of checking criminal convictions and barring, and how they affect organisations and volunteers.  The course also looks at all the recruitment options you have to make sure your organisation and clients are safer.

Take a look at these resources for more of an idea of the course:

Example Activities

Example slides from the presentations

Which level of check should we use?

Session objectives:
• Highlight the changes you will need to make in your organisation as a result of CRB changes
• Explain what a Disclosure and Barring Service Check is and when it is useful
• Utilise methods such as references and interviews to improve the safety of your recruitment & selection process

Please get in touch to find our more.  Thanks!