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Who would have thought volunteering was so difficult?

(41 Posts)
Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:42:51

Inspired by brave women on the Relationships board, I got in touch to volunteer with Women's Aid. Two calls not returned as promised, finally get through to the local branch and am told they're not recruiting until the training is available in September.
So I approach a local women's charity doing similar work. Fill in the online form, no follow up for two weeks. Made a call, the volunteering woman is on her lunch break, she never calls back.
I approach a local branch of the Refugee Council about befriending. They've moved the interview date once at late notice and cancelled completely twice.
I tried to get in touch with an ESOL volunteering centre, and they couldn't understand a word I said on the phone.

I'm just feeling so despondent about it all. I'm fit, presentable, educated and willing to learn. I just want to spend a few hours a week cleaning refuge accommodation or making cups of tea for people in need of a bit of support.

Joules68 Mon 03-Mar-14 19:45:23

They are probably over run with volunteers. The jobcentre promote this kind of thing as it helps secure employment

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:45:56

That's a good point, thanks Joules. Makes me feel better, anyway.

glorious Mon 03-Mar-14 19:47:10

Have you tried your local volunteer centre? They generally advertise actual vacancies smile

LiftWantedAroundTheWorld Mon 03-Mar-14 19:47:22

Our local Home Start are always looking for volunteers - not just to do the family visiting but to help with admin, to organise fundraising etc etc.

pluCaChange Mon 03-Mar-14 19:48:32

Those incidents sound like the consequences of under-funding sad

Also, security is likely a big issue for them, so they need to get everything lined up so they can be sure they are "letting the right one in", with the right person taking responsibility, not another volunteer!

ShatnersBassoon Mon 03-Mar-14 19:48:36

Your local library would be a good place to make enquiries. They'll probably have up to date information on organisations looking for volunteers.

I think perhaps the type of establishment you're hoping to volunteer at at has to be more picky than taking on anyone who is willing iyswim. Be patient, I'm sure come September they'll have you at the top of the list for the training.

MsGee Mon 03-Mar-14 19:48:36

Refuges are difficult for volunteering and more popular charities have lots of applicants. What about Homestart? Or a charity helping people with mental health issues? The Homestart I work with has a high % of women who have experienced domestic abuse.

MsGee Mon 03-Mar-14 19:49:16

Or your local time bank? Very flexible volunteering wise.

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:49:33

I went via the Do-It website glorious but it was out of date. So then I got in touch with the local volunteering council, and asked if there's somebody I could talk to for 20 minutes and have some help being matched with needs in the area. All they suggested was sitting down and printing stuff off the Do-It website for me! That's when I started approaching organisations off my own back.

Finickynotfussy Mon 03-Mar-14 19:49:51

You do have to be a bit patient re timescales. I volunteered with WRVS when I had plenty of free time - it took six months to get started (CRB check and training) and a few months later I started a full time (unrelated) job. I did manage to continue for a year but it was definitely not what I'd intended!

Finickynotfussy Mon 03-Mar-14 19:51:35

I do recommend WRVS although I got the impression I was the only volunteer of working age they'd ever had grin

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:53:10

Lots of cross-posts!

Home Start and mothers with mental health concerns are a bit too close to my job, and I need/want to be careful about boundaries.

I really just want to do something practical and a understated really.

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:53:59

Sorry if I'm missing anyone's posts, you really are lovely to be replying - seeing the traffic in this forum I wasn't sure anyone would reply for days!

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:54:25

MsGee thanks, I hadn't heard of "time bank", I'll look them up.

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:56:51

Finicky I think you're right about patience. I must admit I'm used to working to tight deadlines and having to respond quickly in a very professional environment.

I thought I had a lot to offer, but I think that was just hubris sad.

Ragwort Mon 03-Mar-14 19:57:14

Wow - I think that sort of response is pretty disgusting; I recruit a lot of volunteers (for different voluntary organistations) and whilst some causes are clearly more 'popluar' than others I think any sensible organisation should get an immediate response to any offer to volunteer, even if it is a polite 'no thank you at the moment'. And what's it got to do with funding - everything I do is completely unpaid and I can manage to be polite and responsive to enquiries.

Wish you lived near me, desperate for volunteers grin.

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 19:59:30

Thanks Ragwort, I really appreciate that.

No WRVS opportunities anywhere near me.

Logg1e Mon 03-Mar-14 20:01:15

ARGH!! Time bank has taken me back to the bloody Do-It search thing.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 03-Mar-14 20:01:38

I have been trying to donate baby clothes and goods (cot, bouncy chair, toys etc) to 2 local women's aid groups (in neighbouring counties).

2 emails to each were unanswered (just got automated replies) and promises to get the appropriate person to call be back have not been kept.

I have given up now and will donate everything to a local children's hospice charity.

I'm amazed at how difficult trying to do something good for these charities is.

MsGee Tue 04-Mar-14 06:29:25

Sorry there might be two time bank websites (different organisations..) try

Logg1e Tue 04-Mar-14 06:40:41

Ah, that is different and there is one in my area.

I can't put my finger on why, and I'm sorry to sound ungrateful, but that's not quite what I'm after. That's more about bartering I think.

glorious Tue 04-Mar-14 07:23:57

Ah I see logg1e, sorry. I think local volunteer services vary, ours is great. Don't give up, I'm sure you will find somewhere. With professional skills have you considered being a trustee?

ThisIsYourSong Tue 04-Mar-14 07:41:11

How 'official' do you want to go? You could try contacting local clubs such as a multiple birth or young mothers group and see if they know anyone needing support, solo mums, mums with children with disabilities or who have no family support. We used to have someone at our multiples playgroup who would hold / feed a baby or watch the little ones while we spent time with older children.

cheminotte Tue 04-Mar-14 08:37:56

I know exactly what you mean OP. I wanted to do some volunteering in the second half of my maternity leave and approached our towns volunteer centre. They were very slow at getting back to me, gave me paperwork to fill in at the first appointment that I could have done in advance and would not let me do anything with the baby eg visiting old people due to h&s concerns. By the time they came up with a suggestion (shopping for housebound people which they had to buy a�5 voucher for) it was time to go back to work. I felt like volunteering yo come in and make their processes more professional!

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