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To decide to stop volunteering

(17 Posts)
CruCru Wed 24-Feb-16 13:59:10

I volunteer to host groups of new mums in my area. It isn't ENORMOUSLY time consuming but does take a bit of planning (around childcare etc). I do think it is valuable as I hate to think of mums of new babies not knowing many people (I live in central London so lots of people don't have family etc nearby).

HOWEVER, today only two out of eight turned up. To be fair, two had emailed to say their kids were poorly and so wouldn't make it. I really wish the other four had got in touch to say they wouldn't be coming though, at one point one of the mums said "Gosh, I hope some of the others come too".

In the past, I've had the entire group (around eight) turn up. I've also had a complete no-show, leaving me to cool my heels for an hour and a half at home AND with a load of biscuits that I have to eat palm off onto other people.

It just feels as though it isn't that worthwhile if over half the people aren't going to show. AIBU?

HeyMacWey Wed 24-Feb-16 14:04:09

How about setting some informal ground rules - ie please text of you can't make it.

Do you still enjoy it or do you feel like the group has lost it's purpose? Is it some kind of nct post natal group?

How about volunteering with home-start or a local children's centre (if they still exist in your area).

CruCru Wed 24-Feb-16 14:06:14

That is probably a good idea. I've held off in the past as I worried that it didn't sound friendly enough.

It may be that I'm moving on from that stage in any case. My son starts school in September so perhaps that will be a good time to stop (and, if they want me to, I would be happy to volunteer at the school).

LIZS Wed 24-Feb-16 14:14:15

Do you have completely new groups every so often or do people come and go. If the former maybe set some ground rules with the next group about letting you know if they can't make it. More difficult if they can just stop coming and maybe it is a sign that they have outgrown the group or it hasn't gelled this time.

PastaLaFeasta Wed 24-Feb-16 14:16:59

I'd volunteer for something more 'worthy' and needed - there are plenty of groups run for new mums by the council and NCT along with paid for activities. You could volunteer at a council run centre instead, that way you aren't reliant on a small group and there are staff and other volunteers to talk to. I volunteer for a couple of charities in London and it's really satisfying, fits round the kids and will get me work experience to help me get back to work. These charities all have paid staff, one is a youth group and I'm told the middle class kids are the most unreliable so occasionally we have only one or two turning up, it's just the way it is but I couldn't be be actual leader as being unreliable annoys the hell out of me. But other volunteer roles are perfect and will be more appreciated.

BikeRunSki Wed 24-Feb-16 14:22:13

I'm very torn. As a new mum in a new area, 100s miles from any family, baby groups were a lifesaver.

As someone who also ran a baby group that sometimes had no-shows, I really sympathise with you! I think asking your group to drop you a line if they can't make it is fair enough.

CruCru Wed 24-Feb-16 14:28:43

I do see your point Pasta. I think what appeals to me is that I choose when I am able to host - volunteering for a charity would be more of a weekly / regular thing which wouldn't suit me.

The thing is, I really do see the benefit when quite a few people show up. It just does my head in when only a couple do as it means that I've said no to doing XYZ because I'm expecting lots of people to come over.

Danglyweed Wed 24-Feb-16 14:43:37

"I think what appeals to me is that I choose when I am able to host"

Well thats the thing, just because the day/time suits you it wont suit everyone. If it was say every wed morning at the same time then id get why you were so annoyed.

CruCru Wed 24-Feb-16 14:48:43

I tend to assume that if the time / date doesn't suit someone then they will get in touch to say that they won't make it. Realistically, I can't pick a time to host that doesn't suit me.

longestlurkerever Wed 24-Feb-16 14:49:56

I think it is time to hand over the baton if you're no longer feeling it. One of the new mums you've hosted can take over. This is what happens in our area, though they're hosted in cafes. Once the babies get too crawly or the host goes back to work someone else takes over the host role.

CruCru Thu 25-Feb-16 08:14:45

Yes, I think that is a good idea.

blobbityblob Thu 25-Feb-16 08:39:12

Sometimes I'm unsure if I'm supposed to text or not because it's not made clear. But if your dc is heading to school soon anyway, it probably would be an idea to bring it to a close. There's plenty you can help with at school.

MrsJayy Thu 25-Feb-16 08:46:49

What a nice thing to do however i think you are going to have to be a bit more formal so you are not let down and eat your own body weight in biscuits just get them to text you set out some guide lines maybe its to casual if you enjoy it dont give up yet baby groups can be daunting and with babies we can struggle to get out the door

AvonleaAnne Thu 25-Feb-16 09:16:38

I think you probably could do with a change. I used to volunteer at a toddler group but then when my children started school I became a Rainbows leader instead. I think you can lose your enthusiasm if you do the same thing for too long (especially as volunteering is often not valued very highly by people).

MrsJayy Thu 25-Feb-16 09:24:04

Yeah I think if you have lost your enthusiasm its time to move on your time is not worth feeling disheartened over.

CruCru Thu 25-Feb-16 12:46:52

It's a different group of people each time - I just get them to meet each other and agree a time / place to meet next time. I think I haven't made it so clear that they need to let me know if they're coming because it feels a bit strange when I've not met them. However, I will do this next time and see if it improves.

MrsJayy Thu 25-Feb-16 12:53:35

Maybe if the mums feel its casual they wont let you know just putting acan you let me know in place will help you and them

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