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Welcome to TimeBank’s Volunteer Newsletter – Winter 2020

Julia Shipston Julia Shipston

During the pandemic we’ve had to rethink how our volunteering projects can continue to support those who are most vulnerable and isolated.  See how we’re finding new ways of working – and encouraging businesses to get their employees involved in online volunteering.  

Getting Covid messages out to BAME communities in London

We have received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to get important health messages out to BAME communities in London about the pandemic. This new project aims to support some of the most isolated women in the capital, who may be finding it difficult to access advice and support on a range of issues including health and wellbeing, domestic violence, abuse and hate crime. Read about it here.

Challenging young people to deliver change

We are delighted to be working with Action for Stammering Children (ASC) on a new project for young people that will see them plan, design and deliver a social action project to benefit their community in Islington. The project – Looking Forward – will offer an opportunity for 10 young people from the ASC Youth Panel who stammer to combine their entrepreneurial skills with TimeBank’s volunteering expertise to develop a social action project to benefit the local community. Read more here.

Understanding how to deliver online support

Like many organisations, our priority has been to continue to offer as much support as possible online. We’ve been researching the barriers that our beneficiaries face in accessing online services – especially women in South Asian communities. With a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, distributed by CAST, we’ve been working with ‘tech for good’ digital agency Ayup to find out more about how digital, data and design can best support them.

We discovered that it isn’t a simple matter of getting the tech right – we need to talk to our beneficiaries, understand their needs and only then start trying to find solutions. Read about it here.

Online mentoring

TimeBank has delivered face-to-face mentoring for ex-servicemen, women and families in Scotland for the last six years – supporting those who are struggling to adjust to civilian life and reducing their social and economic isolation. Last year we secured funding from the Forces in Mind Trust to trial an innovative approach to mentoring using online video technology.  This project is now nearing its end, and we are delighted that an evaluation by The Lines Between shows those being mentored have been able to make positive changes, despite the challenges of lockdown. It has been especially important in reducing isolation, enhancing focus, structure, routine and helping beneficiaries staying connected. We will be launching the interim evaluation shortly.

Employee volunteering at Christmas

Christmas is traditionally a time when people want to volunteer and give something back to their communities. We’re delighted that so many businesses are encouraging their employees to volunteer at this time, giving a few hours online to help older people get to grips with technology or support young people who are not in education, employment or training, who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Do take a look at this great blog one of our corporate partners, Mayar Capital, wrote about their experience of team volunteering. If you’d like more information about our employee volunteering, do get in touch:  [email protected]  

Our new volunteering project will support Birmingham asylum seekers and refugees

We’re delighted to have received a grant of £14,760 from the National Lottery Community Fund in partnership with Barrow Cadbury Trust, to deliver a new volunteer mentoring project to support asylum seekers and refugees in Birmingham during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’ll recruit and train 10 volunteers, who will be matched to 30 beneficiaries. Support will be delivered by phone, text and online, with volunteers contacting beneficiaries once a week to check on their wellbeing and share Covid-19 advice and guidance. The project will work with local statutory and voluntary sector organisations in Birmingham over six months. Read more here.

Hearing from our volunteers and beneficiaries

Over the last 20 years, we’ve worked with thousands of amazing volunteers and beneficiaries on our social action projects. With a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund we’ve been recording their experiences – and we’ve now expanded the project to learn how the pandemic has affected local community organisations and their beneficiaries. Do have a listen to their  inspiring stories.

Keep in touch!

We really value the huge contribution our wonderful volunteers make and we’ll keep you in touch with developments over the coming weeks. Sign up to our newsletter or follow our news at www.timebank.org.uk or find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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