Volunteers Week 2019 – A thank you to all our amazing volunteers
This Volunteers Week, we would like to take the opportunity to thank every single volunteer for their invaluable efforts across all of our work and celebrate their immense contribution.
Last year over 300 volunteers gave up nearly 17,000 hours of their time to help us deliver vital services, such as our Free Legal Advice Centre, our Older People’s Wellbeing Centre and our heritage and learning activities. Without them, we simple would not be able to provide the advice and support that we do to thousands of people across London each year. We depend on their enthusiasm and dedication to be able to deliver our wide range of services.
Volunteering has always been a vital part of Toynbee Hall’s work ever since we were founded in 1884. Back then students of Oxford and Cambridge would take up residency in our halls to live and work amongst the community in East London. Last year we re-established our Residential Voluntary Workers programme and welcomed four volunteers to live inside our newly restored historic building. In the past year, they have gone above and beyond to deliver innovative heritage inspired projects.
Here are some examples of how they’ve made a difference:
Tackling London’s Housing Crisis
Social Action Innovator Volunteer, Annick Metefia brought together leading community groups and organisations gathered for a Housing Forum event to debate ‘the housing crisis’.
The event was attended by groups that campaign for affordable housing, rights of private and social tenants and safety. It was an opportunity to hear about current projects and initiatives that you can get involved with to resist and empower our homes and communities.
Helping people find their voice through an evening of storytelling
In a project ran by our Storyteller Residential Voluntary Worker, Sinead O’Brien, we held storytelling workshops for children and adults and also an evening of tales and spoken word.
The workshops were a fun and friendly exploration of what makes a good story to help people young and old find their voice. Then a mix of London’s spoken word artists, storytellers and locals joined us for an evening of tales from the East End. This brought the community and local artists together to share stories about the heritage of Tower Hamlets together.
Our Mark – making local children a permanent part of our historic building
Toynbee Hall has been working with Year 4 pupils from Canon Barnett Primary School on a art project celebrating Children’s Rights.
Working with our Artist Residential Voluntary Worker, Kayleigh (professionally known as Artista), the children designed a mural for their school gates that celebrates six children’s rights; to be safe, to be heard, to be healthy, to play, to learn and to be the best you can be. This is fitting as Toynbee Hall has a long history of supporting human rights that dates back to the nineteenth century. The children also learned about Toynbee Hall’s history and about our co-founder Canon Samuel Barnett, who their school is named after. They then made sketches that were transferred onto the glass floor, becoming a permanent part of our historic building. This serves as a reminder of the importance of giving children space for expression.
Using public data to help the community
Research Residential Voluntary Worker, David Baker organised our first ever ‘Datathon’ to help us develop a deeper understanding of issues facing our community.
David invited researchers, data analysts and data scientists to join us in continuing our history of using evidence to build narratives for social change, analyzing and visualizing publicly available data, to help create materials we can use in our mission to advocate for effective and impactful governmental policy.