It's been six months since I joined the TimeBank team as a project co-ordinator on our Talking Together project, which teaches basic English to women in informal community settings. During this time my role has been more varied than I could ever have imagined so I'd like to share my top five highlights:
As each Talking Together course comes to an end we celebrate the achievements of our learners with certificates and a celebration class where learners often bring in homecooked food to share with the group. It's always a highlight to see the progression in language and confidence that our learners have made in only six weeks and to see how different groups start to integrate. I love to hear about what their next steps will be and where they plan to progress to. I always leave incredibly full of motivation, not to mention delicious biryani and samosas!
Meeting with volunteers
The project could not run without our volunteers and meeting up with them to hear about their motives to teach English in their communities is always inspiring. We have a hugely diverse cohort of volunteers from students to retirees and from those who grew up in the communities we serve to those who have recently moved from Australia! Hearing about their experiences of volunteering with us is hugely satisfying and reminds me of the value of volunteering for everyone involved. The humility they show while changing lives is extraordinary.
The Impact Report launch
This March, we launched our Impact Report. This was a highlight for me as it allowed me to take a step back away from Talking Together and hear about the ways in which all of TimeBank's volunteer led projects change lives nationwide. Everyone experiences our projects in different ways, whether as a mentor, a beneficiary or a partner, and each story is unique. Being able to hear about TimeBank's impact and celebrate everyone we work with was really powerful.
Delivery Partner events
Working with delivery partners, I am often invited to take part in their community events. This allows me to see the work that grassroots organisations do within our communities that often goes unrecognised. From childcare, to counselling, to beauty therapy and employment advice, our delivery partners are the heart and lifeline to many vulnerable people. To be able to help these organisations keep going, through capacity building and funding, is hugely important to me and being invited to support and celebrate with them is an honour.
It's important to practice what we preach and so the staff at TimeBank get together twice a year to volunteer for a day. Last Christmas, the team got together in London and volunteered at a Ronald McDonald Home to make tasty treats for families who have sick children in hospital for an extended period. It was such a rewarding day to be in the shoes of a volunteer and be able to offer some comfort to families going through a tough time.
No two days are the same as a project co-ordinator and I always look forward to enjoying new experiences and hearing unique stories – I look forward to sharing even more highlights with you in six months time! For more regular updates on what I'm getting up to do follow me on Twitter @DaisyMayx and take a look at @TimeBank too.
And If you'd like to know more about the way Talking Together is transforming women's lives, do take a look here.