Some people volunteer to learn a new skill or to meet new people, others want to get work experience or a reference, and some simply want to build their confidence and have fun.
Westminster volunteering during COVID-19 is via Westminster Connects, which is being coordinated by Westminster City Council. Volunteers who are signed up with Westminster Connects will receive a fortnightly email newsletter that includes the latest volunteering roles in the borough. This could include a wide range of volunteering opportunities depending on social distancing guidance.
If you are interested in volunteering through Westminster Connects, please see link below:
I have been a reception volunteer at One Westminster for nearly 18 months. I started volunteering because I needed to gain experience of working in an office environment. It was the right thing to do as I gained not just experience, but much needed confidence as well. I made friends, learned new skills and, above all, I have really enjoyed this journey. For people who want to work but are finding it hard to go back to paid employment, this most definitely is a step in the right direction. I am really grateful for being given this opportunity."
A life plagued by chronic ill health would be enough to put many young people off volunteering but not Westminster resident, Maria Anastasi who last year was awarded for her dedication to volunteering with a Westminster Community award. Now aged 36, Maria has volunteered for One Westminster for more than three years and says: “It’s like my second family. Whatever problems I might have, when I come in here I’m a different person. I don’t volunteer because I think I’ve got to do it, I do it with my heart.
“I felt I needed to do something rather than sit at home. I’d been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 22 and later with diabetes type 1, but managed to stay working in retail until I had to give up paid employment when I was about 30. Over the next few years I felt my confidence ebbing away. At my lowest I thought ‘there’s not a lot I can do’. Happily, as it turned out, an unexpected suggestion from a friend started me on my volunteering journey – and I’ve never looked back.
“I started helping out in the reception at One Westminster and now assist at drop in sessions where I meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds and with different issues and take them through the volunteering options. I’ve also volunteered for the Kick-It stop smoking programme and am pleased to say that I’ve helped at least eight people quit the habit!
“I’ve met some wonderful people, some who have been personally inspiring to me as regards the number of problems they are facing and overcoming. My confidence is back too and I’ve learnt many new skills such as being able to use IT more effectively, customer service and project management. Because of my health, every day is a different day for me, but I continue to receive such a wonderful support from people here that even If I’m a bit down I feel boosted."
Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) offers a free half-day course to help you understand the basic principles of volunteering and some of the practices underlying working as a volunteer. At the moment all courses are online via Zoom. The next course is on [date to be confirmed].
To book your place on a course, send an email to WAES, indicating which date you prefer.
I have been volunteering with One Westminster for around five months now and feel I have benefitted a great deal from it. It has helped me to build my confidence and self-esteem and has also given me the chance to meet new people and make new friends. I have been out of work for years while raising my children so volunteering has given me the skills and the experience I need for when I do get a paid job in the future. At the same time I am helping the community which I really enjoy too.”
Bouchra El Moutaouakil
We can help you if you live, work or study in Westminster to find your ideal volunteering role with Westminster Voluntary Organisations and Community groups. If you need further support relating to any aspect of volunteering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org