What is Volunteers Week?
1-7 June is Volunteers Week, a week when charities large and small celebrate the massive contribution that volunteers make to our communities. At Inclusion Barnet we’re no exception: without them we wouldn’t be able to run South Friern and New Barnet Libraries, in conjunction with Barnet Council.
Valuing skills and lived experience
It’s not just Inclusion Barnet and our communities who benefit from the work of our volunteers. As with our employed team members, we believe that everyone has a valuable contribution to make to our projects and we highly value the skills, lived experience and ideas that our volunteers bring. As a result, many say working with us has enabled them to both strengthen their existing skills and develop new ones.
Ejder, who supports us in the team at New Barnet library, says:
“Volunteering at the library has helped me in many ways: developed my customer service and team-building skills; given me a great sense of achievement… given me routine and something to look forward to each week; and turned me into an avid reader.”
How volunteering can lead to paid work
Ejder feels that it’s due to volunteering with Inclusion Barnet that he has recently found employment as a carer, and he’s not the only one. After several years of struggling to find work, another of our library volunteers has accepted a position as an exam invigilator.
Rachel, who supported us at South Friern library, found volunteering helped her on a personal level too:
“I struggle with anxiety and can find it difficult to engage in conversations with others, but… volunteering has enabled me to greatly ease my anxiety and build my confidence when interacting with others, both at the library and in my day-to-day life.”
Following your passions
Having joined us when she was new to the area, Rachel has since found employment too, this time as a Library Assistant. Getting this role enabled her to follow her passions for reading and writing, interests which drew her to volunteer with us in the first place. For Ejder, who has continued to volunteer alongside his new job, it was also a desire to keep libraries alive:
“I see our libraries as a vital part of our community, providing access to free literature, along with computers and the internet for those that do not have these resources at home… I have been praised by members of the public for my voluntary duties to help keep the libraries open… I am making a positive difference which is extremely rewarding.”
Thank you to our volunteers
At Inclusion Barnet, we strongly echo these words from members of our communities and say a huge THANK YOU to all our fantastic volunteers. Without you, we couldn’t make such a big difference to the lives of people in Barnet and beyond.
Interested in volunteering with us?
We’re looking for more volunteers to help in our libraries. Check out the Volunteer With Us page of the Inclusion Barnet website. We hope to offer volunteering roles in other areas of Inclusion Barnet soon too. Be the first to hear about new opportunities; sign up to the Inclusion Barnet monthly newsletter or follow us on Twitter (@InclusionBarnet).