An informal conversation and guide to the sometimes confusing world of volunteering.

Joint enterprise

BBC's Panorama recently investigated the Joint Enterprise law.  It sounds like a business venture, and I guess it does apply to those in league with each other.  Joint Enterprise shares the responsibility of a crime not just with the person who delivers the fatal blow, but also the friends who encourage the person to commit the crime. 

The law places a huge amount of weight on the group of friends and their negative influence.  But what about the positive role friends can play?

Leap Confronting Conflict offers young people a chance to help prevent everyday conflict escalating into violence.  It's an interesting project because, just like joint enterprise, it recognises the importance of friends and peers.  It acknowledges joint culpability, but as a way of offering a solution to conflict.  And you don't just have to be under 21 to get involved.

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"Most of the people we’ve rescued have been in shock. One minute it’s raining heavily, then the next their home is filling with water and they’re being evacuated by the Red Cross", one emergency worker, Ian Rideout, explained on his blog.

Volunteers have been on the ground and at the centre of the action and many people have offered up their skills and time to help.  But not only is good emergency planning essential, you also need to plan to be an emergency volunteer.  

So just like you need to buy your candles and rations in advance, you also need to be trained in advance.  The Red Cross is always looking for extra help - sign up here to be an  emergency response volunteer.












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Combating domestic violence

images[4]Children will be taught about domestic violence in schools to instill the idea that it is completely unacceptable. Children from aged five will be taught how to prevent violent relationships the Government announced this week.

The policy has come out of a survey done by the NSPCC which found one in four girls, some as young as 13, have been slapped or hit by their boyfriends. Having been on the 'Reclaim the Night' demo the other week I'm all for this, so if you would want to support charities tackling domestic violence, here are some ideas.

Womens Aid

Man Kind


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First response

Aed logo c commons.wikimedia.orgVolunteer and save a life, literally. Community First Responders (CFRs) provide emergency care for people who have suffered cardiac arrest until a paramedic arrives on scene. CFRs are critical, especially in  conjested cities or rural areas when it's difficult for paramedics to get to a patient quickly, especially when every minute counts.

As a CFR for St John Ambulance you'll get full training, including learning how to use a defibrillator (a portable device with pads which shocks the heart into action). Having myself worked with defibrillators in the past I know how simple they are to use, they even give you step-by-step instructions, talking you through what to do.

So, switch off Casualty and go and do some real life saving in your local community.

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Standing up to bullies

Bullies are quick to adapt new technology to further their reach and social media is no exception. Young people are frequently bullied over the internet or on their mobile phones - but young people are using this technology to fight back.

TxtUp Stand Up is just one example of how young people are supporting each other and standing up to cyberbullying. See how Mollie's had her experience turned into an animation for all to see.


Staff from T-Mobile volunteering on one of our employee volunteering programmes worked with a group of young people to come up with ways that mobiles could be used to raise awareness of bullying. Take a look at the latest stories and tips for young people from young people.

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Ain't what you say.....


Last week, in spite of the atrocious weather, we were delighted to welcome people to the launch of a series of TimeBank events. These are designed to celebrate our ten year anniversary next year and start to get people thinking differently about volunteering, where it’s been, where it’s going and how we can all shape the future through volunteering by thinking innovatively.

TimeBank started as a media campaign but has since evolved into a much more complex organisation that undertakes its own volunteering projects. We’ll be using our 10th year to launch our new plans and want people to join and help us shape the future.

We were lucky enough to be joined by three speakers who have very different views on how best to communicate in order achieve change. Hear what Peter Barron from Google, Paul Newman who headed up the Liverpool European city of culture campaign, Mark Earls a leading expert in mass communications and author of Herd, and our own TimeBank team had to say to our guests at this unexpectedly fun packed interactive event on Thursday.

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I want an iPhone

iPhone © William HookKate's just got her first iphone and I've a bit of phone envy.

If I had an iPhone I'd be able to sign up to microvolunteering.

Most are still US-based, such as Catalista. Its smartphone application helps people find and connect with nearby volunteer opportunities - so no matter where you are, you can always be connected to volunteering opportunities happening that day, weekend, or month.

Volunteering phone apps are flourishing - the Extraordinaries are leading the way with giving your time via your iPhone wherever you live by translating documents, tagging photos for a museum or giving advice.

And before anyone comments, I know I can microvolunteer from my computer - I still want an iPhone.

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Shout about your story

The BBC is asking people to write about themselves to be in with the chance of having their life stories made into a book.

My story will choose from thousands of people's stories about themselves and a panel of literary judges will then decide whose story deserves a TV show and a book.

I've just looked on the site and most stories are about family and friends. Though these stories are worthwhile, I think TimeBank volunteers should go and write about the amazing reasons they volunteer and what drives them.

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