It was COLD. I was TIRED. I’d been training in something NOT FUN all afternoon and I got LOST finding Truro Road, which it turns out is dead easy to find, so then I felt like a bit of a DOOFUS. A cold, GRUMPY doofus. Heading to a community centre I didn’t know, to see a bunch of people I half know, to talk about…
COOKING! EATING! BEING FRIENDLY! IDEAS! GOOD CREDIT! FUNDRAISING! In a brightly lit community centre with the smileyest man at the door, a plate of biscuits from Alan and then – a bunch of co-ordinators ready to chat.
7days4stow is Walthamstow residents taking micro actions to help relieve the pressures people will face in 2013: supporting projects that already exist, tentatively setting up new ones, evolving daily… and this was our first co-ordinators meeting. More about 7days4stow here…
It’s always worth the time you put in, this volunteering lark. I honestly don’t know quite why but it always is. It even un-grumps me, and that’s quite an achievement.
So here’s what we chatted about. Lots of learning and stuff to take on board about how we manage something as fluid as this: the tendency is to take on too much and that can alienate the ones who have less time or are just dipping their toe in, but we’re all still learning and there’s some great stuff going on.
Overall: The Good stuff: there are loads of ideas, and plenty of people carrying them through too. All the ideas are linking to each other, and connecting with projects already out there doing amazing things.
The harder stuff: projects without people with loads of time on their hands still need to get short and small actions together so that lots more people can be involved. Some projects just don’t seem to lend themselves to short-term volunteering- like befriending vulnerable people, so it’s taking creativity to see where people can help.
Big Ideas into little chunks.
The Befriending/ Combating Isolation bunch are working on about 4 big ideas, the challenge is splitting this up so we can all have a piece of the action. It’s going to include internet research, contacting orgs and community centres, writing leaflet copy, leaflet design, and hopefully, finally, short opportunities to get involved in activities with vulnerable bods in your local area. Interested in bringing some of this stuff together or connecting informally with people in your area? Get in touch.
The Sharkstoppers/ Better Loans people are also at the big ideas stage, we came up with lots of little activities which just need a bit more co-ordination time. Interested? Get in touch.
Getting Other People on Board
Kerrie’s been successful at this with E17 Kitchen so shared what they’ve been up to.
- Got project aims clear
- Got clear, differentiated opportunities to get involved
- Stuck them up on the E17 Kitchen ivo page, and linked to it from #7days page
- Shared them with lots of social media networks – local, and foodie
- Has kept a list of interested people and when things come up is going to let them know.
- Has been to community events
Kerrie’s put a lot of time in… which is obviously GREAT but we also talked – and we’re still thinking – about how we can make this sort of quantity of stuff happen with lots of people, putting less time in. Ideas always welcome! Some things Kerrie’s going to do:
Define a role for admin and responding to email, making it short and sweet for lots of people to a share, keeping it clear so no-one gets confused and people know what they’re doing. If you’re interested in this – shout!
If you’re a co-ordinator, please share what’s worked for you and also if you’d like to work out how to split up actions or get more people on board get in touch with me or Helen. Cheers! Rebecca