When charity begins at home
New volunteer roles are available working alongside family-support teams. Sophie Wellings explains
FOR MANY of us, when it comes to giving something back to the community, the hard part can be knowing where our help is needed most. Norwood relies on more than £10 million of annual voluntary donations. But there is another kind of commodity you can offer, which is invaluable to the charity and the people it supports — your time.
Volunteers have always been vital in Norwood’s work and this year it is launching a number of new opportunities across the charity.
The community engagement and volunteering team at Norwood oversees more than 500 volunteers across the organisation, in roles ranging from administrative and retail support to committee membership and befriending — all essential.
This year, Norwood’s family support services across north west London, east London and Hertfordshire are looking for people to work alongside social work and family support teams. They need volunteers to provide one-to-one support to individual children or within the family home, for a couple of hours, weekly or fortnightly.
Relationships are at the core of everything Norwood does and volunteers are often required toprovideemotional support, in addition to social or practical assistance. This could include anything from shopping, leisure activities, assisting with homework, helping with barmitzvah preparation, or just sitting down for a chat.
The role can be complex and emotionally demanding and requires a high level of professionalism and sensitivity. That is why Norwood volunteers receive comprehensive training as part of their induction and selection process and are supervised on an on-going basis by an allocated social worker.
Jane* has been volunteering for Norwood Family Services for three years. She provides invaluable support to a family in north west London, helping Mum, who can at times struggle to cope with the demands of five children, three of whom have mild learning disabilities. Jane has formed strong relationships with the family and now visits them once a week to offer Mum hands-on support.
Jane’s role in the family includes playing with the children while their mother is doing housework and helping with taking the children on outings. She also occasionally lends a hand with general administration, such as applying for benefits and assists the eldest child with homework.
“Working as a volunteer at Norwood can be a real challenge, but
Being able to put a smile on their faces is something money can’t buy
helping others and building relationships with the children I visit gives me a sense of joy and reward. Being able to put a smile on their faces through Norwood is something money just can’t buy.”
Norwood welcomes and values each individual’s special contribution, because we all have something unique to offer. It is committed to ensuring that your time with the charity is as meaningful and fulfilling as possible and always tries to be flexible to suit the needs of both volunteers and the people Norwood supports.
Those who use Norwood services don’t always have the opportunity to meet new people, develop friendships and spend quality time with others. By volunteering with Norwood, you could change someone’s life immeasurably and provide valuable support to someone who desperately needs it.
Norwood is calling for volunteers who are enthusiastic, reliable, patient and committed, who have good communication skills and a caring and sensitive attitude. In return, it offers emotional support, expenses and social opportunities for those who want to network with other volunteers.
Norwood has a wide range of volunteer roles available to suit the skills and interests of our diverse community, including gardening, arts and crafts and cultural volunteers to support Shabbat services. Sophie Wellings is head of community engagement at Norwood. *To protect confidentiality, names may have been changed and model photos have been used
You could help with homework, to give their Mum a break