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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.

Logg1e Tue 04-Mar-14 12:35:32

Don't apologise glorious! I am actually already in a trustee kind of role for an organisation. I would really like to do something that doesn't rely on, or even acknowledge, my professional status or ability. Does that make sense?

Logg1e Tue 04-Mar-14 12:37:14

Cheminotte yes - I have had that thought too!

Leeds2 Tue 04-Mar-14 16:59:28

What about volunteering at your local food bank? I'm sure they are crying out for more people at the moment.

Fwiw, I volunteer in the office of my local Home Start. I know you don't want to do that, but just wanted to say that the office I work in get back to people on the day they call (if the call can't be taken at the time). Honest! I think it helps create a great impression.

glorious Tue 04-Mar-14 17:31:45

Ah I see logg1e, it makes total sense. Don't think I can add anything helpful but good luck!

Ragwort Tue 04-Mar-14 22:38:30

Leeds2 - actually our local food bank is over run with volunteers - obviously a very popular thing to do grin.

Cheminotte - that is ridiculous that you couldn't volunteer with the elderly because you had a baby - I did endless volunteering with older people when I had my baby - meals on wheels, driving old folks, visiting old people's home etc - they all loved seeing my baby smile.

Some of these organisations have so many rules and regulations & using H & S as an excuse is just being obtuse for the sake of it.

Dipsey00 Tue 04-Mar-14 22:55:27

I tried to volunteer for a few different things a couple of years back and had similar experiences to you, ignored and last minute interview cancellations, I gave up in the end as it left me very dispondant too. I can emphasise with you.

Logg1e Wed 05-Mar-14 05:54:09

You have all been lovely, thank you.

Ragwort Wed 05-Mar-14 08:38:43

As someone who does a lot of work in volunteer recruitment this thread has been really useful, & highlighted some areas for improvement.

Eliza22 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:15:26

I wanted to do some voluntary work and applied to Citizens Advice and a number of the local charity shops. Nothing ever came of it. Citizens Advice never even acknowledged my application form. Eventually, I started working for an overseas aid organisation and I'd said I'd pretty much do anything except work with numbers. I lasted all of 4 weeks at it as they had me sat in a freezing cold (middle of winter) little office, alone, checking direct debits against names of people who'd signed up financially. I felt bad leaving but I hated it and was hopeless at it. I have discalculia.

Logg1e Fri 07-Mar-14 21:13:37

I chased this up today, and to cut a long phone call short, basically the fact that I can't attend the training means I can't volunteer. The training course is four consecutive Thursdays, 10 'til 2 meaning I'd have to take four days of holiday, which I can't even I wanted to as I already have work commitments. I asked if this wasn't a problem for other would-be volunteers as it is pretty much in the middle of a working day and she helpfully explained to me that lots of people don't have jobs nowadays so it's fine for them. It's so frustrating.

I got back in touch with the council's one stop shop for domestic abuse and now have two more organisations to try.

Logg1e Fri 07-Mar-14 21:14:42

And when I said that ideally I'd like to help out behind the scenes in housing, eg cleaning, she said that their office always needs a cleaner.

glorious Mon 10-Mar-14 21:05:27

Sigh. Good on you for being so persistent. Someone will be lucky to have you.

MsGee Tue 11-Mar-14 13:22:21

Logg1e time banking is not about bartering (that is LETS).

Basically you help someone out for an hour, you get an hours time credit.

You can 'spend' that on help from someone else, do nothing with it or donate it back to the time bank.

It really is worth talking to them!

drspouse Sun 30-Mar-14 11:00:37

This is a slightly old thread but have you thought of volunteering with teenage girls i.e. preventative measures?

I'm a Brownie leader so the first group that springs to my mind is Rangers/now called The Senior Section, but I'm sure there are other groups out there.

I do sympathise as I coordinate volunteers for our area and it takes ages to get someone through the door from first signing up to getting their CRB (we can let someone start before doing that, fortunately) and then there is also training (again most people don't wait for that).

But from the other side of the situation it is VERY annoying when someone signs up on our website in, say, March, and they are moving away from the area in July, and thought they could perhaps volunteer till then. When you factor in school terms, and the volunteer themselves finding they are busy a couple of weeks, and actually finding them somewhere, and then of course their CRB, they may manage to go to 2 sessions before Easter, maybe 6 or 8 after Easter, and then to be honest the girls have got to know them, they've just about managed to run one or two activities, and they're gone! They've managed to provide an extra adult head count, basically, and sometimes that is more or less it, and then it was for such a short time that the unit in question couldn't take on any extra girls, even though they have a massive waiting list.

So while not wanting to seem ungrateful I have said no thanks to a few people recently.

Logg1e Mon 31-Mar-14 14:51:08

Thank you for taking the time to post, and it was interesting to see things from the other side, as it were. Girl Guides isn't really my scene, but thank you for the suggestion.

I have managed to get involved with some supported women's housing, but the volunteer office is new in post and so far I'm the only volunteer, so I think it's fair to say that they're still getting themselves organised.

glorious Mon 31-Mar-14 17:52:49

glad you found somewhere, hope it gets more organised soon.

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