Over the last few months I’ve got involved in volunteering in Nottingham, some thing that’s been on my ‘to-do’ list for a while. Why? I like helping people, learning new things and meeting cool people. I’ve managed to do all three through volunteering recently.
I wandered into the Nottingham vInvolved office one day, wanting to try a bit of volunteering but not really knowing anything about what I wanted to do. By way of providing a little bit of background, vInvolved are an organisation that help young people (16-25) to volunteer regionally, nationwide and abroad.
One of the vInvolved staff, Aaron, walked me through the variety of options and spent a bit of time getting to know me and what I wanted to get out of the experience. After chatting for a while Aaron presented me with a range of opportunities that I could fit around my full-time job to help in the community.
Two organisations which caught my eye were Sprout and DAIN (Digital Activist Inclusion Network). The former, Sprout, are an organisation that fund people to do green projects in their local community and also get involved in helping other green organisations. The DAIN project trains up volunteers to go out into the community and help people with technology issues and engage people in all things digital.
So, how’s it going so far? Pretty good. It’s a great feeling to give your time to help with something that will benefit others and I’ve met some really cool people so far along the way.
I’ve helped out a couple of Saturdays with the Whitemoor Allotments project that Sprout get involved under the guidance of the Nottingham Organic Gardening Society. Experienced gardeners help instruct the novices (me) on how to plant everything from cabbages to potatoes to help create a new organic allotment educating people on the benefits of local, organic produce.
After a few hours planting things, digging and watering you’re served up a hearty lunch using the produce direct from the allotment, by Ros the allotment coordinator, it’s awesome. As part of the DAIN project I’ve been attending the monthly advisory panel meetings to discuss how volunteers are getting on in the community and how we can increase engagement. I also got to meet the Lord Mayor (see above) whilst promoting DAIN.