Being agile in a crisis

Phil Pyatt Phil Pyatt

A belated Happy New Year to everyone – although I am sure 2021 hasn’t been the start we would have hoped for.

2020 was TimeBank’s 20th anniversary and we could not have foreseen what a different year it was for the world.  As a charity we had to quickly adapt and stop all our face to face volunteering and move solely to online video delivery through platforms like Zoom. Unfortunately, this resulted in a significant reduction in income, something many other charities have also experienced, and we sadly had to say goodbye to some much-respected colleagues and projects.

Back in 2019 TimeBank had already started a number of mentoring pilots using online video to support veterans on our Shoulder to Shoulder Online project and a small pilot with young people on our Looking Ahead project. As a result, when the pandemic hit, we were able to use our learning from these pilots to enable a more seamless move to online. We were also helped tremendously in our transition to remote volunteering by funding from the Catalyst and the National Lottery Community Fund to help us understand the needs and behaviours of beneficiaries and how digital, data and design could best support them.

We’ve been enormously encouraged by the number of companies who have been keen to continue engaging their staff in volunteering during this time, and we’ve been running Zoom Techy Tea Parties to support isolated older people to access technology during this difficult time.

So while 2020 has been extremely challenging, we were able to regroup and run some much-needed projects with our fantastic volunteers, helping a range of beneficiaries from young to old and from veterans to asylum seekers and refugees. The year ahead will be increasingly challenging for the voluntary sector and we are hugely grateful to our fantastic staff, trustees, funders and our volunteers who have supported us over the last year.

I look forward to updating you soon as to our progress over the next couple of months, and I hope you all stay safe and well.

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