A fabulous year for volunteering!

I always sit down at this time and do a bit of a review of the year – looking through the 2014 diary it utterly astounds me just how much we have packed into 12 months and how excited we are to take this forward into the New Year!

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January saw the launch of our new volunteer led English Language project in Birmingham and Leicester – it also saw us move into a new office in Birmingham and increase our staff team there by another six people. Of course that meant all the usual things like setting up IT and financial processes and induction but it also meant we had a whole new group of TimeBank staff to learn from and work with as we grew our work. I get to go to our Birmingham office much more often too, which is great fun!

Meanwhile in London we were welcoming a slightly more unusual new staff member in Mason our trainee guide dog! He came to the office every day as part of his training and was an amazing volunteering opportunity for one of our team. 

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By March we’d started planning our annual staff away day with the creative team at Happen and preparing our next 18 month business plan as we moved towards year end. Our employee volunteering was really starting to develop, as you can see from this video from our friends at Southerly about their volunteering at a local school. And our Shoulder to Shoulder Families project was launched in Birmingham.

In April we heard the fantastic news that the Forces in Mind Trust and the Henry Smith Charity would fund our Shoulder to Shoulder project in Scotland with our partners Erskine, so that meant lots of time on trains to Scotland to get the new project up and running. 

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In May for the second year running the company CEB asked TimeBank to run its global impact day in the UK by organising volunteering opportunities for 300 staff on Give and Gain Day. I went round five of the six projects in London and was astonished at just how much impact one staff team could have in one day with the right opportunities.

In the summer we started working with Pro-bono Economics to try to put a value on the incredible work our Carers Together project is doing in partnership with Carers UK. More flippantly we turned our training room into a big screen to watch some of the World Cup – hmm not sure that England got the memo to deliver like TimeBank!!  Inevitably projects come to an end as Engage, which works with unemployed young people, did in June but like a phoenix rising from the ashes we are fortunate to have secured funding to launch a new iteration in January so look out for another fabulous job being advertised at TimeBank.

In the summer I took time out to go up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, seeing first-hand how the Clyde-siders replicated the Gamesmakers in London – showing volunteering at the forefront of a big national event once again – and of course bumped into one of our very own trustees Lorna who was volunteering her time. Like TimeBank staff our trustees really do walk the talk! 

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By the autumn it was back to business as usual, delivering our amazing projects, fundraising for new ones and delivering impactful employee volunteering opportunities.  November took me to the Windsor Leadership Trust for a week which utterly blew me away as you can read in my blog here – trust me you are never too senior to learn and develop new skills and you should never underestimate the power of taking time out to think.

Just last week the volunteering world saw the re-launch of the volunteering site do-it. I was lucky enough to be on the panel discussing the value of social media at the launch and saw the amazing new site that really will support people more easily into volunteering opportunities – anything that gets more people volunteering is a good thing as far as we’re concerned!

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And so full circle we moved offices, but this time in London!  As our lease came to an end we waved goodbye to Moorgate and hello to Kings Cross, moving into a great space with our friends at the YMCA. I’ll be honest it wasn’t the greatest time of the year to move but we’ve done it and come January 5  we’ll be operating from our new home and hope very much that you’ll come and see us.

Meanwhile an absolutely heartfelt and huge thank you goes out to all of our volunteers and supporters, our trustees and our staff team – they have been fabulous this year and I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.