Wall Of Fame - Volunteers Week
10th June 2020
As last week (1st-7th June) was Volunteers Week, we are reflecting on four inspiring volunteers who have given up their time to support amazing National Lottery funded charities, and their vulnerable communities, since the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Amma, Little Village
Amma is a regular volunteer at Little Village- a London based charity that provides clothes, toys and equipment for children up to the age of five. The Coronavirus outbreak has seen a huge rise in the demand for help, so they have been busy creating and delivering bundles of essential items to struggling parents and children across London.
Amma says: “I fundamentally believe that every one of us, every human being, has the right to live in a dignified and respectful way. I’m no better or worse than anybody else, every child is of worth, every human being is of worth. I suppose it saddens me that there are some children, and women, and families who just have such a rough ride in life, particularly the nation we live in, where there’s actually plenty. Every day you see people get rid of things, throw things away – there’s an abundance of stuff. Volunteering in Little Village is my small contribution towards trying to make the world a better place.”
Lucie Castleman, Wiltshire Music Centre
Lucie is a long-standing volunteer for the Wiltshire Music Centre. The Centre’s National Lottery funded 'Zone Club' is a creative group for young learning-disabled adults, aged 16+. The project is delivered through monthly sessions at the Centre in which young people can create their own music, lyrics, dance and films. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus it’s been more important than ever to look out for their community and that is why the Club has adapted their sessions to work virtually.
Lucie speaks of the rewards of volunteering: “The music events are wonderful. Joyous performance comes out of what these young adults do. The opportunities to see quality musicians, help out in the community, make good relationships with other volunteers, and contribute in a really worthwhile way to enriching people’s lives as well as my own is reward enough.”
In her spare time, Lucie is a beekeeper, and has pledged to donate the money she makes from the honey later this year to the Centre.
Jeanette Lynes, Warm & Toasty Club
Jeanette is a key figure at Colchester’s Warm and Toasty Club, an inter-generational befriending club hosting regular Memory Afternoons that bring over-60s together through music, arts and history. Though members may not be able to see each other physically during the Coronavirus pandemic, they can still meet up virtually thanks to weekly Virtual Memory Afternoon broadcasts.
Jeanette describes what volunteering means to her: “I feel lucky that I have the time to spend with them and honoured to become part of their weekly lives. I lost my parents and grandparents many years ago and some of the gap left by their passing is filled with spending happy times and hearing the memories of our older folk that come to the Memory Afternoons.”
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, The Warm & Toasty Club has adapted to weekly live broadcasts. It’s lovely to be a co-host and continue to spend Friday afternoons in wonderful company, albeit virtual, and to read the comments as the people watching join/write in.”
“As the lockdown eases, I have spoken to some of these people about the possibility of me visiting them at their homes, at a safe distance, outside. The thought of this seems to make them very happy and, although we can’t share the usual hugs, it will be wonderful to see their smiling faces. It’s these kind of positive thoughts that keep us all going strong!”
Robin, The Devil's Porridge Museum
The Devil's Porridge Museum in Dumfries & Galloway tells the story of HM Factory Gretna, the largest munitions factory in the world during the first World War, with the help of its dedicated team of knowledgeable volunteers. Though their doors may be shut for now, the volunteers have been keeping busy by getting involved in podcasts and completing online training.
One of these volunteers is Robin, who is easily recognisable in the museum as he is often seen volunteering in a kilt! He joined the team in 2017 with a keen interest in military history and HM Factory Gretna, having served as the Senior Police Officer (Commanding Officer) of the Ministry of Defence Police Detachment at DM Longtown.
He remembers a 'baptism of fire' on his first day when, unannounced, a coach party turned up at the museum! Robin really enjoys showing groups around the museum, especially children, and is a key part of their school visit team. In 2019, Robin was asked to join the board and became a Trustee of the museum.
During lockdown, Robin has undertaken an Autism Awareness course, which you can read about here.
Since The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £45 billion has been raised for good causes and more than 660,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.