Get involved, be an inspiration – be a volunteer!Peter Beeby
Following my stint as a GamesMaker in the glorious days of 2012 (still going on about it), I was so inspired by what society can achieve by mobilising people to come together, and the power of volunteering, that I was moved to do more. The experience inspired me to apply to be a trustee at TimeBank, the national volunteering charity.
TimeBank exists to provide an inclusive and rewarding volunteering experience whilst transforming the lives of the people we support.
I wouldn’t dream of comparing what TimeBank does and offers with the experience of those volunteering at London 2012. But the experience of volunteering with TimeBank goes further in attempting to knit our communities together, improve lives and make long lasting change.
TimeBank has managed to do this in an external environment that has rapidly changed during my seven years on the Board, with changes in Government, major policy shifts, funding cuts and of course a pandemic. Despite all of that, the charity has adapted and changed, determined in its efforts to recruit and engage more volunteers and help address problems in our society, improving the way we live, together.
As I come to the end of my tenure as trustee and Chair at TimeBank, I’ve been reflecting on the phenomenal team at TimeBank, both past and present, who have worked so hard and passionately to keep the show on the road, delivering a high-quality volunteer experience, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society, against this backdrop of funding pressures and changes.
I’ve worked with an amazing Board who have been truly committed to TimeBank, bringing their skills and experience to bear whilst balancing diligently both opportunity and risk. I have learnt so much from the people around that table and have been truly inspired by the team that works at TimeBank every day, dedicated to volunteering and volunteers.
We have constant conversations about how we can do more, how volunteers can do more to address some of the challenges we face – a passion that drives us forward. For thousands of people the COVID-19 pandemic has been a motivation to become more involved in volunteering. It’s disappointing then that the Government hasn’t engaged more with organisations like ours, to draw on our skills and experience to support volunteer recruitment drives that could help in so many different ways.
But one thing that has cheered me up immensely is that despite lockdown, companies are still looking for ways of engaging their staff in volunteering. One of our most popular employee volunteering opportunities is Techy Tea Parties which really help to ease the loneliness and isolation so many older people are experiencing. It’s great to see corporate volunteers getting involved, spending an hour or so during the workday to connect via Zoom to help older people access and use their smart phones, tablets and laptops to keep in touch with family and friends.
We hear from our volunteers how life-enhancing such experiences are. I know my life has been enriched by my volunteering experience. I may be leaving TimeBank, but I will continue to beat the TimeBank drum – get involved, be an inspiration – be a volunteer.
If you’ve been inspired by Peter’s experience, you might like to know that we are currently searching for a young trustee to join our Board. Take a look here for more information.