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

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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Guide 2009 © 1 ChefsI've never been to jail (apart from on a Monopoly board), but I'm guessing the food may meet with a few choice words from Gordon Ramsay. For young men just getting out of prison Switchback must be a real lifeline to not only rediscover the joy of food but make a career out of it (no lumpy gravy in sight). 

Switchback gives newly released male prisoners unpaid work as trainees at the Crisis Skylight Cafe in London's East End. It's not all about training; they also get the support of a mentor - helping them to make positive changes to their life, get a job and keep it.

It never fails to amaze me how varied volunteering can be and small organisations like Switchback are always looking for willing volunteers. So next time you hear about an organisation that sounds interesting, get in touch - I bet they'll welcome you with open arms.

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Creating a buzz

Orlando Clarke is launching an initiative to help tackle youth crime by teaching troubled 16 to 19-year-olds how to maintain beehives and harvest honey.  'Bees,' Orlando claims, 'give us an awareness of our movements and our physical and emotional strength.'

Sounds a little bit, well you know.  But honey bees only sting when defending their nest and with 40,000 of them possibly out to get you, I would think nature would take swift action if the young people started messing around the hive.  So perhaps the discipline of working with bees might not be a bad thing.  What do you think?

The scheme also has the added benefit of helping the honeybee population which has been in sharp decline over the last few years.

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Did our guide help you volunteer?


When you sign up to TimeBank we match you with a local volunteer centre and send you a copy of our TimeGuide to help you find the right volunteering opportunity.

We're running out of TimeGuides and to be honest, not sure what we should do next. Some of you say it was fantastically helpful, others say it didn't tell them anything new.

Please tell us what would help you. Thank you.

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