7 June 2016

As part of National Volunteers Week we have the opportunity to recognise, celebrate and thank the fantastic and inspiring contribution that volunteers make to YMCA London South West. It amazes me on a daily basis the hours, hard work, enthusiasm and skills that volunteers kindly donate to the Association. Volunteers truly allow us to go above and beyond with the services that we run and in the communities that we operate.

What a year it has been! We have seen new projects and services started, whilst current ones continue to grow and there’s even more on the horizon. The number of current and consistent volunteers has hit the 200 mark, which is incredible, considering that when I came into the role (four years ago), we had around 120 volunteers.

Volunteers are present in all of our services across many different sites and Centres and contribute a staggering 700 plus hours per week (as of beginning June 2016).

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New and exciting services, include:

In partnership with Richmond Foodbank, a Foodbank was launched at YMCA White House, which provides emergency food for local people in crisis. We have 21 volunteers supporting us with this service.

Team Motivation is a service for 16+ people living with a disability or mental illness who need a little help getting active and involved in their local area. We have an ever growing team of volunteers becoming Motivators and buddying up with local participants.

Relaunch of YMCA Basement. The Centre is a base for various youth activities such a Youth Café and gig nights. Volunteer Youth Workers help create and support these projects.

We have also continued great partnerships with Organisations such as CEB. A one-off volunteering day took place in May 2016, with 30 volunteers, accumulating to 150 hours of volunteering. The volunteers transformed the outside play area at YMCA Hawker by creating painting and repairing plus getting creative by building cable reel tables and mud kitchens.

In addition, across our sites we have provided work experience for 25 young people, amassing to over 500 hours of experience of the working world.

We were successful in achieving the Kingston Quality Award (KQA) by Kingston Voluntary Action, which was a nice recognition of everything we are doing.  We met the principles of Best Practice in Volunteer Management recognised by the KQA. We are to be awarded the certificate by a Queen’s representative of the Borough on Saturday 11th June.

Recruited Latoya Bloomfield as Assistant Volunteer Co-ordinator. Latoya thinks: “It is so inspiring to work alongside such dedicated people. It is also very refreshing to see so many people making a positive contribution to their communities by becoming volunteers with the YMCA LSW. We are very thankful.”

Andy Mole, Volunteer Co-ordinator