When char­ity be­gins at home

New vol­un­teer roles are avail­able work­ing along­side fam­ily-sup­port teams. So­phie Wellings ex­plains

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Norwood -

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

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