2012 - what a year!

2012 - what a year! This time last year I can honestly say I didn’t know how we’d get through it. But it’s been absolutely amazing.  We’ve seen people and projects come and go and we’ve constantly explored the next steps we can take in volunteering. 

Who can possibly talk about 2012 without mentioning the Olympics? The Gamesmakers made volunteering the thing to do and as Lord Coe has said, they ‘made the games’. But let’s not forget the achievements of all those volunteers who don’t wear a purple and red uniform to spend time transforming people’s lives.

Back to Life, our first ever mental health mentoring programme, came to an end but what a legacy it left - not just the people we have supported through the programme but applying that learning to new projects - Shoulder to Shoulder for veterans and The Switch which started early in the year to support young people transferring from children’s to adult mental health care.  The Lottery came up for TimeBank (literally) in June when it funded our brand new Carers Together project, a face-to-face and online mentoring programme. This not only has the potential to change the way we think about volunteer mentoring but also prompted us to open our Birmingham office – so now we are a two office charity which surely can’t be bad!

We have focussed on our business development and fundraising and seen some really interesting trends in the way companies are recognising the benefits of employee volunteering. We hosted an event at Westminster with companies and MPs to promote what we do and we’ve engaged dozens more volunteer mentors, so we really are doing something right. Closer to home our chair of 12 years the lovely Paul Jackson retired and handed the reins of TimeBank into the eminently capable hands of Andrée Deane. And to cap it all we have been interviewing for new trustees to join the board and what an amazing group of candidates we met.

Just before Christmas the whole staff team volunteered with Crisis to help them prepare their homeless centres for the holiday period.  Who needs a party when you can do that! I love that we genuinely want to walk the volunteering talk. (Of course we did go out afterwards and let our hair down a little!)

I’d like to add a couple of personal highlights – talking about volunteering on Sky News during the Olympics was great fun. And yet to come is my Christmas address to the nation on Christmas Day! OK, I’m not the Queen and it’s on at 3am but if you are just coming in from a party or the kids have got you up because Santa’s been, switch on to Radio 2 for a little festive volunteering cheer.

Just in case you miss it - from me to you: our volunteers, our future volunteers, our funders and supporters and my incredible staff - have a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a volunteering filled New Year!

Helen