1ST June – 7th June 2020
Nominated Volunteer of Mildmay
Could you tell us about the organisation you volunteer for and about your role?
I’m one of the volunteers in Mildmay Mutual Aid, working in partnership with the Mildmay Community Centre. My role within the group is to coordinate the deliveries of surplus food to vulnerable households and homeless people. While the Community Centre organises donations from the council and Felix Project, over the last two months I have brought on board 25 volunteers; prepped them; allocated delivery addresses; and coordinated the food sorting and delivery of produce and dry goods to up to 190 people each week on foot/bike/car.
What got you into volunteering?
Many things! I think like many people I was both aware of the inequalities that were rising in the pandemic, and also feeling helpless around how to pitch in. So, I joined my local Mutual Aid group, and when the opportunity came up to coordinate food deliveries, I was really happy to have a way to help. It seemed a good fit not only for my nerdy spreadsheeting skills, but also as a way to be a part of a team again and get to know my community better.
What are your favourite parts of the role?
Having said that I’m a nerdy spreadsheeter, my favourite part hands down is being with the team of volunteers every week. I can’t think of a way to say it that doesn’t sound sappy, but the people I’ve met in my community – volunteers or those working at the community centre – are some of the nicest and most caring I’ve met. Pulling together as a group (from 2 metres apart) to do something useful is incredibly rewarding for all of us, and I hear that back from the volunteers each week. I’ve also been able to introduce my special needs brother, Cameron to the centre to volunteering there, and it means a lot to him to feel part of something with his community.
Do you have any tips for people who would like to start volunteering?
Give it a go! It can usually be as much or as little time as works for you, and you’d be surprised at the social benefit. I’d also recommend the way it went for me, which was to get involved with something but get to know it for a little while, helping in smaller ways, while you get a lay of the land and learn from the experience of those who’ve been doing it for longer. Then, you can work out (if you want to) where a good niche is for how you can contribute more – where you’re useful and passionate within a community of other volunteers. In the end, it’s all about good people working well together.