Are you or have you been a volunteer in your community?
Rotary members are volunteers who give time and energy to those in our community. And we are always looking out for ways to support others in the community.
Did you know in during the pandemic in the UK 12.4 million people volunteered their services to help others? And of that figure 4.6 million volunteered for the first time in their life. Moreover, 90% of these volunteers felt they had made a difference. These are both remarkable results and an extraordinary demonstration of people’s inherent kindness and compassion during the last difficult year.
I am a volunteer with the Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town, one of five Rotary clubs in the Swindon area. We get involved in all sorts of projects lending our time, skills, and energy whilst raising funds for worthwhile causes and local charities. It hasn’t been easy to get out to the public with the lockdown. What’s’more we haven’t been able to meet regularly face to face. Will Zoom ever really catch on in a ‘people first’ community?
However, we had a great opportunity to get out and use our volunteering skills at the Easter Bank Holiday. The café in the Town Gardens had recently closed and was waiting for a full refurbishment. New tenants will be taking over the kiosk at the end of April.
So why us?
One of our club members is Neil Hoskins of the South Swindon Parish Council. He proposed that we might run the café for the benefit of Town Garden users over the long weekend. And the takings went to support Brighter Futures, the GWH charity and one of our club’s charities for the year. And what fun we had. We had two shifts of five members on each of the four days. The President of the club Ray Norman ‘volunteering’ to get up on each of the mornings at 6.30 am to get the boiler switched for hot drinks by 9 am!
We learnt how to make hot chocolate without lumps and how to use card readers with a mobile phone to take the money. A fabulous time was had meeting people from all over who came to enjoy the wonderful facilities of Town Gardens. We were also able to put to bed finally, the myth of Rotary clubs being full of old white men. For example, visitors were able to see that our club membership is really diverse and that we have members of both sexes, different ethnicities, and all ages, mostly from Old Town with two, like me, who live in Wanborough!
So, the result. We raised £2,851.19 for the Brighter Futures staff welfare fund plus handed over two very full collecting boxes. If you were a visitor to the café over Easter, our very grateful thanks for the enormous support you gave us.
Maybe you have a project in mind and would like some extra volunteer help? Or perhaps you are looking for ways to get more involved in volunteering? Why not consider approaching a Rotary club such as ours in Old Town. Check out the website: Rotaryoldtownswindon.uk to learn more about what we do or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.