Volunteers Week: 1st- 7th June 2021!

To celebrate this year we are highlighting special volunteer teams and a volunteer in each of our services on every day of Volunteers Week from 1st-7th June.

Volunteers are also now able to earn Tempo Time Credits for their time by signing up here.

Volunteers have also been invited to attend a mindfulness session on Tuesday 1st June at 6pm and the virtual volunteer celebration event hosted by Voluntary Action Islington (VAI) from 5-6pm on Thursday 4th June. Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn and the Mayor of Islington Cllr Gallagher.

Tuesday 1st June: Garden Volunteers!

We’re kicking off our Volunteers Week Celebrations with a big THANK YOU to our team of 10 amazing volunteers who came in again on Sunday 30th May for 5 hours to help get the garden in shape for the summer. For many of the volunteers it was the second time they’ve come in for a Garden Volunteer Day, with the first one being on Sunday 18th April. The garden really is looking amazing so thank you from everyone at Centre 404, you are all superstars!

Image shows a group photo of garden volunteers smiling an posing with tools.

Wednesday 2nd June: Judith from our Central Service! #PowerOfYouth

For Day 2 of Volunteers Week we are celebrating the amazing Judith, one of our service users from Supported Housing. Judith was nominated for special recognition for starting her volunteer placement at reception with so much enthusiasm! There is plenty to take on but she has been really keen and is learning a lot.

She also knows nearly everyone who comes through the door as she has been with us for a really long time; so she makes a wonderful welcome for everyone who comes through the Centre 404 door! Well done Judith! 🤗👏✨

Photo shows our volunteer Judith and our Receptionist Alexa smiling on reception.

Thursday 3rd June: Galatea from our Supporting Families Service

Eva- “I nominate our fantastic carer Galatea. Dedicated and passionate about bringing her expertise and experiences  when I have worked with her developing and delivering workshops and/or webinars for our family carers and to external health and social care providers.  She is the one I turn to for an “expert by experience “ viewpoint and constructive feedback on webinar and workshop content and she brings a personal wealth of expertise  to Centre 404 Family Services.  Despite her extensive caring commitments and therefore only limited time to volunteer she volunteers her time with such kindness and generosity.”

Friday 4th June: Alizée from our Independent Living Service

We were so happy to see our Dog Support Volunteer Project finally get started over the last long lockdown in December 2020.

This was all thanks to our lovely volunteer Alizée and her dog Guizmo who started doing weekly walks with some of our tenants from within our Independent Living Service.

This project has gone really well so far, with our tenants benefiting from regular social interaction with the dog as well as the volunteer, whilst also getting the positive effects of getting out and about in the community and in nature, and getting some exercise.

Therefore Alizée was nominated for a special recognition for her contribution as a volunteer from the Independent Living Service as part of Volunteers Week 2021. Well done Alizée and Guizmo! 

Photo of Dog Guizmo and our service user Christina smiling on a bench

Monday 7th June: Atlanta from our Learning & Leisure Service

Humans of Centre 404: Presenting Impact Stories Atlanta

For the final day of #VolunteersWeek2021 we would like to reflect on all our amazing volunteers.

We would also like to give a huge shout out to our wonderful volunteer Atlanta, who has now successfully moved onto our staff team as a Support Worker on our Learning & Leisure clubs. Atlanta has well-deservedly won our Volunteer of the Quarter as well, and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share her inspiring story. Congratulations Atlanta!

Atlanta applied to volunteer with us right at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and in June 2020 started volunteering as a Telephone Befriender for vulnerable and isolated family carers. She then moved on to support our Children and Young People’s clubs through Travel Buddying and activity support both at our term time clubs and our holiday play schemes. She has been an invaluable volunteer to us, always going the extra mile, such as doing extra shifts to fill in for people and travelling long distances to support our young people travelling through the pandemic; and always giving 200% to make our service users feel happy, safe and supported. She also supports other charitable initiatives such as making scrubs for NHS and volunteering at a local food bank.

Atlanta is a neurodiverse person, and has an ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, having been diagnosed very late in life in her mid-30s. This is much more common with women who are often underdiagnosed for ASD. Atlanta shared that after the diagnosis it felt really overwhelming reliving certain moments in her life that she could have done differently, and also how some people’s reaction of how she seems “quite normal” have felt very dismissive. She explains how she understands that diagnosis can be very affirming for lots of people, however for her she feels more comfortable in owning being neurodiverse over any other label or diagnosis. Atlanta importantly described twice how; “I love my brain but I get frustrated with it sometimes” as she finds it difficult to read between the lines.

At Centre 404 though, she explained how she feels comfortable, accepted and understood, and how her anxiety goes right down as soon as she walks through the door. She described how supporting the young people at Centre 404 became her favourite volunteering role and helped her get through the lockdowns. She reflected how she loves supporting their talents and that “I am honoured to work with them.” She also describes how “the kids” can do things that she couldn’t do, and how amazing it is how articulate they are and how safe they feel to contribute in the group.

She shared a really sweet memory as well demonstrating what it can be like working with our young people: “I was walking home remembering the day, having a memory of one of the young people on the swing and he was laughing so much that it made me smile and giggle on the way home thinking about it.”

Atlanta was clear that she started volunteering to help out during the pandemic and not to build her experience or CV as she has always been a successful freelance photographer and artist. She also had no experience working with children and was unsure of her ability to support them when she was first asked to do the Travel Buddy volunteering. However, she was supported and encouraged by our Volunteer Coordinator that she could excel in this role, and had the opportunity to meet the kids and start slow. She explained how important it was for her to be eased in and made to feel comfortable and how she trusted us as a charity. Starting slowly helped her personally to have the confidence she has now to be a Support Worker with us, which she started in April 2021.

We know that we can gain a lot from supporting people like Atlanta into Support Worker positions within our charity, so thank you Atlanta for everything you’ve done to support our service users as a volunteer, and welcome to the staff team! 😊