Celebrate the festive season by giving your time


Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, people are often keen to volunteer at this time of year. Here are some great ways of giving back.

Giving time at the British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation is looking for volunteers to help out at their shops in Kingston over the Christmas period as many of their regular volunteers are on holiday. Email burrowsj@bhf.org.uk to find out more.

Image: Asma volunteering at the British Heart Foundation shop in Kingston for Christmas


Support Oxfam Christmas with your time

Christmas is a very busy time for Oxfam shops with just a short window of opportunity to capitalise on people searching for perfect sustainable presents. The money raised funds Oxfam’s emergency and development work all over the world, for example providing clean water and sanitation to camps for displaced people.

The role will mainly incorporate:

* Offering great customer service

* Managing transactions through the till

* Receiving donations

* Keeping the shop floor looking beautiful

* Ensuring stock levels are maintained

No previous experience is required but enthusiasm and cheerful nature are essential.

Please pop into your nearest Oxfam shop or contact Judi via email (jthompson2@oxfam.org.uk) for further information. Roles are available in New Malden, SurbitonKingston Town and Kingston Riverside.


Welcoming new arrivals

The Refugee Council are asking for people to write letters of welcome to families arriving from Afghanistan. Write your message of hope.


Raising money and awareness

If there is a cause that is particularly important to you, this season is a great way of raising money and awareness as people want to get together and think about others.

Some ideas:

* Hold a Christmas film viewing party – charge people to vote for their favourite film

* A Christmassy coffee morning to raise money for a cause

* Toy donation drive

* Fundraising walk or fun run

If you are collecting items to be donated, make sure that you check with the charities beforehand whether they have the capacity and space to receive the items and what they need. Generally, money, gift cards or brand new items are preferred.


Mitzvah day

Jewish people come together on 21st November this year for Mitzvah Day, the largest faith-led day of social action. Find out more here.


Involving your family in volunteering

If you want your children to be thinking of something other than what Father Christmas

* Contact your local residential service for older people and ask if they are interested in receiving letters/cards/drawings

* Get involved in some wintery micro-volunteering! Have a look at some activities here from The Conservation Volunteers

* Donating toys and books to charity shops

* Litter picking


Contact local groups and churches

Bigger charities that hold specific Christmas events (e.g. for people experiencing homelessness) will normally have their volunteering needs organised months in advance. However, smaller groups and churches may welcome an eager volunteer. So contact your local older people’s group, put a post in the communities’ WhatsApp group or pop down to your local church and find out how you can get involved.


Help Princess Alice Hospice raise vital funds as a Santa Fun Run volunteer

Support the Santas with your festive good cheer as they run around Bushy Park on 5th and 12th December or spread the word about the event. Find out more here.


Volunteering for your health and wellbeing

With lots of parties, treats and long movie marathons Christmas is not always the healthiest time of year. Volunteering is great for your mental health and you can also volunteer in ways that improve your fitness.

Join people from over the country to create a National Walking Network as part of SlowWays. Go for a walk in your local area and record it on the website.

Get involved with GoodGym and get fit while helping out with activities to support local charities.

Trustees Week 2021 | Reflections of Cllr Liz Green


This Trustees’ Week, longstanding active volunteer, Cllr Liz Green shares her reflections on volunteering and becoming a trustee. 

Whilst I’ve been a volunteer in various organisations for many years, I took on my first voluntary board member role earlier this year. The organisation is St Martin of Tours, which is a housing association for people with complex mental health needs. A lot of my volunteer roles have centred around mental health, as it is an issue close to my heart, so it seemed an obvious step.

I was warmly welcomed by the other board members and officers and got stuck straight in. It was different to the more personal volunteering support I was used to, but it is just as rewarding. I’m looking at the financial sustainability of the organisation; the long term vision and goals; the quality of services; better working with stakeholders and the community; and the set of the organisation itself. Because of my skillset, I’ve joined a subcommittee looking at quality and compliance, including resident and stakeholder satisfaction. As a regulated services working with NHS and local authorities, there are multiple aspects to this work, but putting clients and service users first is a must for me. They come to us via various methods, but all of them need support and care to help them move on to more independent living and live the best life they can. Their voice is vital in the running of the service, so we take time to listen to what they want and need.

I was worried that the time element would make it difficult for me, but that hasn’t been the case. We have board meetings every other month in the early evening, then there is a few emails and papers a week to read through, some mandatory training videos and occasionally away day. I can fit this into my schedule without any problems and mostly work at a time that suits me and my family.

I know that by being a board member, I am helping shape the organisation to provide what the organisation and the clients need. The reward of joining a board comes in knowing that my work will help change their lives for the better and there is nothing more satisfying than that. I’m glad I made this step. I’m still doing personal volunteering in other organisations, but this has given me the chance to help with wholesale changes that need to be made to give the best services to this vulnerable group of our community.

Would you like to become a Trustee for a local charity? Check out some of the active roles here or speak to our team to find a role that’s right for you.


Top 10 Tips for Recruiting Volunteer Trustees

Looking to recruit volunteers? Here are some top tips

  1. Brainstorm all of the possible motivations for a Trustee for your charity whether that’s giving back, career development, passion towards the cause etc.
  2. Reach out to your networks, current and former volunteers, service users and their families, supporters and anyone connected to your organisation.
  3. Have a look at Reach Volunteering’s amazing resources on Trustee recruitment.
  4. Ensure that your recruitment is accessible – especially if you are a disability charity.
  5. Keep things up to date – terms like ‘Treasurer’ may be off putting to younger volunteers. Use terms like Finance Trustee instead.
  6. Have a look at Getting on Board services and resources.
  7. Think outside the box and remember that Trustees don’t have to be ‘pale, male and stale’.
  8. Make it clear – the difference the volunteer will make by volunteering for you.
  9. Offer to have an informal chat or visit with the Trustee.
  10. Get in touch with Volunteering Kingston for a one-to-one advice session.

‘Getting on Board’ – opening up charity boards

This Trustees’ Week, Getting on Board is trying to open up charitys’ boards. Want to know how? Then read on to find out all about it.

About Getting on Board

Getting on Board is a trustee recruitment and diversity charity. It’s our guiding belief that diversity in the board of Trustees is key to effective decision making, better delivery of a charity’s services and the broader goal of creating a more equitable society.

Getting on Board supports people to become charity trustees, particularly those who are currently under-represented on trustee boards. The aspiring trustees we support include young people, women, people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, working class people, and people with lived experience of marginalisation.

We help charities in their mission to become more representative of the communities they serve by recruiting and retaining trustees from a diversity of backgrounds and lived experiences. This is fundamental because charities need access to the broadest possible talent pool to function at the highest level. This is only possible when diversity is preserved in every aspect of the trustee recruitment and retention process – not seen as a box ticking exercise that equates to lowering the bar.

To keep up to date with our training and programmes, please sign up for our newsletter.


Festival of Trusteeship

Getting on Board’s online Festival of Trusteeship will take place 1st-5th November 2021 and they are offering our registered volunteers a 50% discount. The Festival is packed with exciting events for people who want to become trustees, trustees who want to keep learning and developing, and for charity leaders who want to understand best practice in trustee recruitment and diversity. Use the code LOCAL50 to receive a 50% discount. The code also works on weekly passes, bringing the ticket fare down to £12.50 and allowing you to access as many of the 24 events as you’d like. Click here to explore all the scheduled events.


Training and resources for aspiring trustees

Learning from experts in a supportive group of likeminded individuals can make the process towards trusteeship easier and more enjoyable. All our training is designed to be easily accessible to all aspiring trustees and all programmes are excellent value for money.

If you’re an organisation that wants to train or support a number of aspiring trustees, you can find all you need here.

✦  Our Charity Board Leadership Programme will teach you what makes an effective, strategic and responsible trustee. If you’re ready to take up a trusteeship and need help getting the process over the line, this is the programme for you. Many delegates find a position within weeks of completing the course (some even find a position while the course is still ongoing!). Our flagship six-week programme runs six cohorts a year and costs £875 per person.​

✦  If you’ve decided that you want to become a trustee, have a working knowledge of what being a trustee involves and are looking for some one-to-one help with your trusteeship position research and applications, then Board Match one-to-one is right for you. You can find out more here.

✦  Are you between 18-30 years old? Do you want to make an impact to a cause or community you’re passionate about? Getting on Board’s Future Trustees programme teaches you everything you need to know about what being a trustee involves and the steps to take so you can become a trustee too.

✦  There is also our regular, one-hour ‘What is a trustee and how do I become one?’ webinar, giving you an introduction to what trustees are, what they do, and top tips on how to become one.


As well as support from Getting On Board, you can always speak to Volunteering Kingston about all aspects of getting involved in volunteering and trusteeship.

Getting on Board – Festival of Trusteeship

Trustees’ week is an annual event to showcase the great work Trustees do and provide opportunities for everyone to get involved and make a difference. This year, we want to thank all the Trustees for playing a vital role, volunteering their time and for coming together to make important decisions in local communities through the causes and charities they believe in.


What is Festival of Trusteeship?

Getting on Board’s online Festival of Trusteeship will take place 1st-5th November 2021 and they are offering our registered volunteers a 50% discount. The Festival is packed with exciting events for people who want to become trustees, trustees who want to keep learning and developing, and for charity leaders who want to understand best practices in trustee recruitment and diversity. Use the code LOCAL50 to receive a 50% discount. The code also works on weekly passes, bringing the ticket fare down to £12.50 and allowing you to access as many of the 24 events as you’d like. Click here to explore all the scheduled events.


About Getting on Board

Getting on Board is a trustee recruitment and diversity charity. Its guiding belief is that diversity in the board of Trustees is key to effective decision making, better delivery of a charity’s services and the broader goal of creating a more equitable society.

Getting on Board supports people to become charity trustees, particularly those who are currently under-represented on trustee boards. The aspiring trustees they support include young people, women, people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, working class people, and people with lived experience of marginalisation.

Getting on Board’s objective to recruit and retain trustees from a diverse range of backgrounds and lived experiences is fundamental to its vision because charities need access to the broadest possible talent pool to function at the highest level. This is only possible when diversity is preserved in every aspect of the trustee recruitment and retention process as against a box ticking exercise that can equate to lowering the bar.

To receive regular updates on training and programmes straight to your inbox, you can sign up to receive newsletters from Getting on Board.

How to support families arriving from Afghanistan

The news from Afghanistan is extremely concerning and has prompted an outpouring of generosity and offers of help from people across Kingston. During challenging and uncertain times, it is very heartening to hear that so many in our community want to support.

Kingston’s response

Kingston is currently preparing the groundwork to welcome families from Afghanistan via the Home Office resettlement schemes. The council, Refugee Action Kingston and the Migrant Advocacy Service are working together to support refugees and the families of staff who worked for British organisations.

To find out more about the resettlement plans and schemes for newly arriving families from Afghanistan, visit the below pages here:


Donations and fundraising

You can help Refugee Action Kingston by becoming a regular supporter.

If you aren’t in the position to donate money, you can:

  • Share posts asking for funds on social media.
  • Hold fundraising coffee mornings/BBQs.
  • Ask friends and family to donate instead of birthday presents.
  • Donate items (check the website to see what is currently needed). You could also collect items on your street and offer to transport them in one go.


Check the Refugee Action Kingston website for donations they are seeking at the moment – if there are other items you have to give away, contact us at Volunteering Kingston and we can find the best place.

You can also offer items and housing via this government website.


Volunteers with the right skills and expertise

Over 400 people approached Refugee Action Kingston to offer support in the wake of developments in Afghanistan. The families, refugees and locally employed staff, need expert support and volunteers with specific skills. Dari and Pashto speakers, mental health professionals and mentors will be needed.

Even if there is not an immediate need for a specific offer of support,  the skills and time being offered will be needed in the future as our new community members rebuild their lives in Kingston.

You can find out more about volunteering here:

* Sign up to hear more about volunteering opportunities from Refugee Action Kingston.

* Register on the Volunteering Kingston website here.

Sign up for the training programme with the Migrant Advocacy Project to become an advisor for vulnerable migrants.

Refugees at Home and Room for Refugees – offer a room to a refugee if you have space in your home.

* Volunteer with the Refugee Council.

* If you would be interested in providing housing or fostering children, you can register your interest on this government website.


Small actions you can do that make a big difference

Donate items to Care4Calais – note that the Kingston drop off is currently closed. You could offer to collect donations for your local WhatsApp group and drive to the nearest place.

* Write to your MP regarding support for refugees.

* Share donation links and volunteer opportunities on social media.

* Write a letter of welcome and support to families arriving in Kingston. Include as much as you like, including drawings and pictures, and your wish to welcome new families to the wonderful borough of Kingston.

Letters, drawings and photos can be sent to :

Refugee Action Kingston
Siddeley House 50 Canbury Park Rd
Kingston upon Thames KT2 6LX

Volunteering through adversity: Ruth’s story

Ruth has dipped in and out of volunteering since her late teens, but it wasn’t until 2021 that it started featuring so prominently in her life. Suffering from mental health issues, Ruth had to resign from her full-time job as a hospital administrator back in 2016. The following years were marked by a series of difficulties, including temporary accommodation away from her community and intensive therapy. Ruth managed to continue therapy throughout the pandemic, which she says she’s incredibly grateful for. Ultimately, she would get referred to Volunteering Kingston and start her latest volunteering journey.

Ruth started volunteering with Kingston Snowflakes in February 2021 and has received a different task to execute every week. The group’s ultimate goal is to “make the world a better place” with every small action, and for Ruth it was an opportunity to once again start contributing towards society in a small but accessible way. “I was really, really overjoyed I was able to do something,” she explains. “Especially when things were at their worst this January with lockdown and the new (coronavirus) variants. Being able to make the tiniest bit of a difference and reach out to someone gave me enrichment. Like you’ve got meaning and purpose to actually make a difference.”

Her goal had been to start volunteering with a regular role when her therapy ended back in April, but the experience with Kingston Snowflakes was so rewarding that Ruth soon took up a second volunteer role at the Chatty Café Scheme, where, once a week, she speaks to a vulnerable adult who is experiencing loneliness and self-isolation. She didn’t stop there though. She also started volunteering at the Hogsmill Community Garden and at the Scope charity shop in Tolworth. Very quickly, Ruth was engaging with four different volunteering roles.

“My priorities in life have become a lot more black and white,” she says. “I’m very clear on what’s important to me. I’m not going to leave it behind this time. My time is being filled with meaningful things. I’m still unwell, but I’m starting to stretch my muscles again, getting myself back into a routine – a meaningful routine.”

Overall, she struggles to characterise the experience of volunteering, saying “a positive impact” is possibly not sufficiently emphatic to convey just how much it has transformed her life. “That’s possibly the understatement of the century!” she says with a laugh.

But when it comes to volunteering as a general concept, she’s resolute: “People don’t understand that a lot of jobs are completely voluntary. If people didn’t do them, they just wouldn’t get done. And when you find yourself touched by adversity, you start to see that most of the help you get is from charities and nowhere else. Basically, a lot of the good stuff that happens in this world happens because of volunteers.”

Do you feel inspired by this story? Would you like to volunteer and help make a difference in your community? Check out the current openings here.


This article was written by Dany Rubbo, Comms Volunteer at Volunteering Kingston.

Reflections on a Week of Gratitude – National Volunteers’ Week 2021

And so 2021 National Volunteers Week is coming to an end. Like the 2020 version, it has had to accommodate the realities of an ongoing pandemic, although that doesn’t seem to have prevented an impressive contribution via social media and digital channels. The 2021 version has had more time to adapt to the limitations of social distancing thus allowing some socially distanced events to also take place.

Here at Groundwork London we have focused all of our National Volunteers’ Week energies on trying to show the incredible level of gratitude to volunteers for the past year. Of course, we could never quite achieve that because the level of gratitude required far surpasses anything attainables immense. June 2020-June 2021 is forever to be known in history as the time of the Covid-19 Pandemic and what has been clear to everyone is how much volunteers have been central to the countries’ Covid Response, both at national and local levels.

Volunteer after volunteer, community group after community group, mutual aid organisation after local sewing club have all stepped up to support people in their time of need. The events across social media and the digital presence throughout this week has reflected the sheer scale of the contribution that volunteering has made to mitigating suffering and pathing the way to return to some form of normality in time. However it will be, new normality will be very different as the immeasurable contribution of volunteers can no longer be taken for granted. Their voices, and the voices of those who support them, have been heard loud and clear this week, and long may it continue.

Volunteering Kingston’s Volunteers’ Week contribution saw us hold pop-up events to say thank you to volunteers. We met with volunteers from Voices of Hope, who transformed from a choir into a food hub and who are now using their skills to support people and communities recovering from the effects of Covid. Volunteers were presented with certificates and had a lovely time in the sun reflecting on the last year and a half. We also visited the New Malden vaccination centre where we were even joined by actor, Peter Egan, who helped us present volunteers giving out certificates and saying thank you to volunteers old and new who have been so essential to our gradual return to normal.

At Volunteering Barnet we have also had a lovely Volunteers Week! On Tuesday & Thursday, VB team members Alice, Rachel and Alice G. visited Gateway Pharmacy, Mango Pharmacy, McParland pharmacy and Barnet Food Hub. It was great for the team to have the opportunity to speak to volunteers and hear how much they have enjoyed giving their time. Alice presented all of them with certificates of thanks and heard from the staff how vital their support has been.

At the Barnet Food Hub, Alice and Rachel had a taste of the hard work volunteers undertake regularly when an unexpectedly large delivery meant they were sorting and packing donated food alongside manager Ollie and the volunteers there! Ollie spoke to us about the impact of the Volunteers and how they have been the driving force of progression behind the project!

Throughout the week, Volunteers’ have shared their stories and experience alongside words of thanks from local organisations, showing just how volunteering has helped careers, mental health, community and the environment. Each volunteer received a thank you card to start the week off and the digital party continued through the week on their social channels.

The VB team shared content from across the borough and their partners as part of this years’ Volunteers’ Week special digital campaign, #atimetosaythanks, celebrating Barnet’s thriving volunteer sector and showing gratitude to the thousands of volunteers that have given their time across the borough!

“Overall, this Volunteers’ Week has been a huge success. We have loved being able to see the amazing levels of commitment and passion our volunteers have delivered across the borough. Thank you to everyone involved, including all our staff at Volunteering Barnet. Happy volunteers week 2021!” – Alice, Volunteering Barnet, Volunteering Brokerage Coordinator

Elsewhere, the Legends of the Forest volunteers in Waltham Forest were treated to surprise visits by the Legends staff team at both the Vaccine Site at Chingford Leisure Centre and the Telephone Check in and Chat call centre at the Magistrates. After many months, our Legends staff finally met our volunteers in person and they could properly congratulate the Legends for their efforts.

Twitter was very chirpy too, with clips and posts featuring our Legends in action: https://twitter.com/i/status/1399650719779667969

850 thank you cards were also sent out accompanied by ‘I am a legend of the Forest’ enamel badges to all those who have volunteered since March 2020 to wear with pride!

Meanwhile, with events ground to a halt since the pandemic began in 2020, the Team Westminster Ambassadors haven’t had the involvement across London events that they are so committed to supporting every year. But they have been very busy delivering their Mentors initiative which started to help alleviate stress and isolation between the volunteers during lockdowns. This Volunteers Week, Team Westminster have been looking back at the virtual activity on Zoom which help keep them connected and maintain their unique Ambassador spirit. To say a big thank you to each of them for their ongoing commitment, Team Wesminsters’ Sophie and Meryl delivered a virtual tea party (Zoom capture below) and presented each volunteer with special thank you card filled with goodies!

Team Westminster Active hasn’t had the chance to be as ‘active’ in the last year either with events cancelled and restrictions still in place for some, however, their continued commitment and support across the community and its’ organisations has not gone unnoticed. Enjoy the Volunteers’ Week video that Westminster Actives’ Anna and the team created below to say a big thank you alongside all the organisations across the borough! Well done Team Westminster!

The new-found understanding in the scale of volunteer commitment over the last 12 months has provided new learnings for everyone across the UK. Volunteers across the country have impacted us all in some form; delivering your food or medicines, supporting your neighbours, your medical professionals, pharmacies, befriending those who were isolated, across the overall Covid-19 relief, and that’s all before the ongoing need for support across the many many charities and foundations who rely on volunteers to keep going day-to-day. What has accompanied that commitment is a  bond between volunteer and those receiving assistance like we’ve never seen witnessed as such a public level before. The compassion displayed by those in a position to assist despite their own personal circumstances and challenges presents us all with an inspiring example to follow.

The ongoing challenges of Covid-19 have changed not only the health landscape but also the national psyche, rendering irrelevant forever the stereotypes of what constitutes a volunteer, a professional, or those in need. Class, age, race, gender; whilst all are still important to us in defining and embracing our diversity, volunteers across the board have shown that simple humanity comes to aid when needed, whatever the circumstances that endure.

National Volunteers Week has become more relevant with each passing year, especially when considering the barriers redefined by the pandemic. However, like the way we have overcome the challenges of supporting our communities in both 2020 and 2021, we can, with even more belief in our abilities than ever, make every National Volunteers Week a resounding success!

From Groundwork Londons’ Volunteering Kingston, Volunteering Barnet, Waltham Forest’s Legends’ of the Forest and Team Westminster!

Judith’s story

As we begin to turn the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, we take a moment to hero some of the volunteering champions that have been helping make the national vaccination drive possible. Below is Judith’s story.

When the announcement was made that the New Malden & Worcester Park Primary Care Vaccination Centre had received their first vaccine shipment on 15th January, Judith started volunteering the very next day. A restaurant supervisor with a bubbly personality, back then Judith was on furlough and she was keen to meet new people and gain new skills.

She also saw volunteering as an opportunity to improve her mental health. She describes missing the social element from her regular employment and how its absence had impacted her generally positive outlook on life. “I’m a people person,” she explains.

“I work in a pub and there we get all sorts of people. And to not have that social interaction really put a strain on my mental health.”

Her self-described “dark days” are now well behind her however. “It’s such a positive atmosphere [at the Vaccination Centre]. The Lead GP is always so positive about getting jabs into people’s arms – it really rubs off. And the fact that we’re all really appreciated is probably the best thing,” she reveals, describing coming home after every volunteer shift feeling elated knowing that she’s contributed towards the global effort against COVID-19. Judith also depicts a picture of true camaraderie amongst the volunteers and says she’s developed a true friendship with some of them. “I never thought a lot of us would become so close. I made some fantastic friends.”

It’s probably no surprise she’s connected with so many volunteers considering Judith has taken on a number of different roles since she started volunteering back in January. She’s volunteered as a Traffic & Parking Marshall, a Welcome & Wayfinding Volunteer, she’s been on administrative duties at the check-in desk and even helped at a local surgery to assist with booking patients in to get their vaccines. “As new roles came up I just wanted as much experience as possible,” she explains, adding that it’s allowed her to widen her contact network and enhance her skill set even further.

Now back at her full-time job, Judith hopes to continue volunteering. She describes the experience as fulfilling and heartwarming and recommends others get involved. “I’ve dragged my dad into it,” she says cheerfully.

“He wanted to give back to the community as well, so I dragged him along when there was a gap to fill!”

Would you like to join the Vaccination Programme or volunteer for a local charity? Check out the current openings here.

Want to share your volunteering story? Get in touch!


This article was written by Dany Rubbo, Comms Volunteer at Volunteering Kingston.

A Time to Say Thanks

The new normal, particularly as we celebrate National Volunteers Week 2021, seems so near and yet so far away. As life starts to take on a familiar yet still slightly strange feel over the coming late Spring and Summer months, it is time to reflect on something that has made a great impact on communities during the pandemic; the display of the human spirit and the achievements of volunteer contribution.

Achievement might seem a misplaced concept as we enter the 16th month of lockdowns and restrictions, but it does feel a million miles away for the initial fears of furlough, the exhausted medical staff, and the school children whose education has been greatly affected. Whilst a sense of ‘normal’ remains an ambiguous concept to us, particularly when mask-wearing and social distancing still form much of our outdoor expectations, at Volunteering Kingston we want to look beyond our limitations caused by the pandemic. We wish to recognise what has been achieved, by the communities we live in and the voluntary and community sectors, utilising volunteers, which has been at the forefront of the Covid response!

Looking around our local area we quickly start to see the evidence of achievement; the results of human endeavours against the odds. You will see Vaccination Hubs manned by both medical professionals and trained volunteers, you will see delivery services, provided by a partnership of public sector and voluntary groups, for the vulnerable and those still at risk. You will see vital food banks, mental health awareness campaigns, fitness groups doing good work, and the return to nature manifesting itself in clean-up operations run and delivered by local people and volunteers. Most of all, what we see is the inspiring outcomes of the dedicated individuals who ensured their community survives and strives in its’ recovery. What an example of the ultimate achievement of the true human spirit!

We want to say a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers across Kingston and beyond, for making all the difference in such an unprecedented and challenging chapter!

It has been a great privilege and comfort during this period to see how many people want to come forward to volunteer. We broke all our records for volunteer sign-ups – in January 2021 we had 255 people sign up which well over three times the number of sign-ups in January 2020. Informal groups were set up quickly to deliver food and groceries to those who were self-isolating or shielding, a friendly chat on the phone for people who were lonely. The council, Kingston Voluntary Action and Volunteering Kingston, along with other voluntary sector groups provided support to vulnerable people, with volunteers playing a key part.

We also had groups set up like Sewing for Kingston who have made an astonishing range of items, from PPE at the start during the shortages, to items for newborn babies. A sister group, RBKares was also set in order to support key workers with comforting items to help them during this difficult time. During the very challenging period in January, these items made by and sourced volunteers were an important source of comfort and reassurance for staff at Kingston Hospital.

A huge range of organisations quickly mobilised their volunteers in order to help people from the first wave through to the second and third lockdowns. Despite the continued challenges and change of this period, one thing has been constant: volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations have been here for people in Kingston.


To continue to celebrate the work of Volunteering Kingston’s volunteers, we will be celebrating National Volunteers Week 2021 with lots of online content, some surprise location visits (Covid-proof of course) and above all, saying a well-deserved huge thank you to each and every one of our volunteers. Their commitment to each other and our communities has been a driving force in the fight against Covid-19 not only here at home in Kingston but also nationwide. The achievement to come when ‘normal’ finally returns, however it chooses to return, will be even clearer. And that achievement will be in the re-invigorated human spirit that volunteers have displayed and owned in numbers since March 2020, and long may it continue!