Organisation Spotlight: Save the World Club (Trustees Week Edition)

trustees week. save the world club. kingston

To celebrate Trustees Week (6-10 November) we are highlighting the valuable role that Trustee Volunteers play in the volunteering sector. 

Organisation: Save The World Club

Name: Hugh Williams

Tell us a little about your organisation:

Save The World Club’s mission is to encourage positive environmental action and self-empowerment. We achieve this through our three main pillars: Food re-distribution, circulation of second-hand goods, and the mosaic murals all over the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames that we’ve made in conjunction with local artists and the community. 

The charity was originally founded in 1986 by Des Kay, who is still a Director/Trustee/Volunteer to this day. We are based in a warehouse we like to call “The Circulatory”, a building whose purpose is to promote a more circular economy to prevent wasting resources and improve the environmental impact of the things we use at the end of their lives. 

trustees week. save the world club. kingston

Why are Trustee Volunteers valuable to your organisation?

Trustee Volunteers are important to our organisation as they play an important role in both, deciding what direction would be most suitable to achieve the charity’s goals, and also as direct leadership on the ground for those who want to help but need to know where to start.

What does the Trustee Volunteer role involve? 

The role of Trustee Volunteer with Save The World Club is a varied one.

At its least involved, it could be as little as helping decide high-level planning and direction for the charity and taking part in board meetings once every two weeks for around 2 hours. On the more involved side, it could be to support the direction and needs of one of our teams from finance, HR, administration, food provision & collection, or even outreach. The more involved could be as much as 6-8 hours a day 5-6 days a week.

Training for a Trustee Volunteer is as diverse as the role you chose to take charge of. Taking into account where you’d like to be, and what training that entails, is just as much a part of being a Trustee/Director/Volunteer with us as the training we think you need to do your role well. 

What skills or experience are needed to become a Trustee Volunteer?

Patience, an open mind, the ability to step back where needed, and the confidence to step up when something is wrong. While all of these are desirable, a mindset open to learning/developing active and caring leadership to build a better space for everyone is a must.

Do you have any Trustee Volunteer role vacancies currently?


We are open to interest in almost any area for our Director/Trustee volunteer opportunities, with a particular interest in becoming a treasurer. While we do have a fundraiser and grants Director/Trustee Volunteer, the applications leave them little time to compile accounts for our financial reflection.

Contact Tariq Shabbeer (Director/Trustee – Secretary General) [] or Hugh Williams (CEO) [].

What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for your organisation?

Our roles are very flexible and so long as you have a good mindset, the roles can be both incredibly rewarding and equip you with valuable skills. You get to support vulnerable and local people while also saving both your wallet and the planet together with a fantastic team.

trustees week 2023

Unveiling Hidden Heroes: Changing Perceptions and Celebrating Trustees

trustees week 2023

Welcome to our blog, shining a spotlight on the unsung heroes of change – trustees. 

These incredible individuals are the heart and soul of nonprofits, guiding the ship toward meaningful impact. Trustees play a vital role, not just in boardrooms but in the very fabric of society, fostering transparency, innovation, and accountability.

trustees week 2023

As we celebrate Trustees Week (6-10 November), let’s explore the immense value these volunteers bring to our communities. Traditionally, there’s been a reluctance to put a price on freely offered commitment, especially at the trustee level. But times are changing, and the tide is turning.

Ever wonder why the incredible economic contribution of volunteering is often overlooked? Well, so have we. Enter a recent game-changing study by Works4U, led by the insightful Dominic Pinkney, titled “Monetary Value of Charity Trustees.” Brace yourselves—it’s a real eye-opener!

Starting with Sherry Anderson’s wisdom that “volunteers don’t get paid, not because they are worthless but because they are priceless,” the report unveils the true economic magnitude of volunteering in England and Wales—£324 billion, a staggering 14.7% of the UK’s GDP. Let that sink in. To put it in perspective, that surpasses the NHS budget for 21/22 (£190 billion). And the good news doesn’t stop there.

Drilling down into the world of trustees, the report reveals their value at £33.17 billion, equivalent to 1.7% of GDP. Think about it—more than the total value of manufacturing in 2022 (£31 billion)! With the average number of trustees per organisation being 6, these figures are awe-inspiring.

But what does this all mean? It means change is on the horizon. The report not only advocates for recognising the economic value of volunteering but suggests a dedicated government department for the entire Voluntary Sector. A world where Trustee roles are championed on the same scale as business, sports, and culture. While we might not see it overnight, a shift in attitude toward the sector is certainly on the cards.

Excited to join this movement? The good news is that new trustees are always in demand. If you want to join this impactful journey, become a volunteer or a volunteer involving organisation (VIO). Volunteering Kingston is ready to help you maximise the value of your contribution.

Paralympian becomes Chair of Trustees at Kingston Association for Blind

In this illuminating case study, we delve into the remarkable journey of Roy Frank Smith MBE, a dedicated individual committed to supporting visually impaired communities. 

As the Chair of Trustees for the Kingston Association for the Blind (KAB), Roy’s story is one of inspiration and selflessness. With a rich history in sports, including participation in the Paralympics and an MBE for his contributions to Disabled Sport, Roy’s transition from competitive sports to community service is a testament to his unwavering passion for making a difference. 

As we celebrate Trustees’ Week (6-10 November 2023), join us as we explore Roy’s role, responsibilities, and impactful achievements, including empowering visually impaired individuals to get involved in sport.

trustees week kingston association for blind

Volunteer: Roy Frank Smith MBE 

Role: Chair of Trustees

Organisation: Kingston Association for the Blind (KAB) 

Tell us a little about yourself:

I live in New Malden, now retired, but I have been volunteering for various sight loss charities for the last 50 years. I took part in the Paralympics and have been involved in both the summer and winter Olympics. I have run Marathons and Half Marathons to raise money for the sight loss sector. I received the MBE from the Queen in 1991 for services to Disabled Sport, and I had the privilege of being a torchbearer in the 2012 London Olympics.

What inspired you to become a Trustee?

I had so much fun taking part in sport as an individual and in teams, I wanted hundreds more people in London and Nationwide to be able to have the same amount of fun. The rewards from watching visually impaired people of all ages enjoying a wide range of activities are immense. I have been involved as the chair of British Blind Sport and Chair of Metro Blind Sport and Social Club for the visually impaired for over 30 years. Over thousands of individuals have befitted from the clubs I have been involved in. My passion, in the long run, is to see the fun blind children have running, jumping and throwing and all blind and partially sighted people of all ages enjoying a wide range of activities.

How did you find out about the volunteering role?

When I stopped competing nationally and internationally, I looked at how I could support local visually impaired charities. I contacted the Royal Borough of Kingston who put me in touch with KAB. In June 2023 I became the Chair of Trustees therefore passing on some of my administration and fundraising skills including networking and coaching contacts.

Tell us about your Trustee role.

My role is to coordinate with the CEO and other trustee members, meet with new members and volunteers and provide essential awareness training, especially for members with recent sight loss. To ensure that we have enough funds to support the activities we provide and try and increase our income so we can increase our services and activities to over 4,000 people living with sight loss in this borough. All information is sent out in the format of the members’ choice e.g. large print, audio, talking newspapers and accessible website.

Please, tell us about your most memorable experience as a Trustee volunteer.

Organising one-to-one swimming lessons for blind and partially sighted people who cannot swim. Finding the funds from Sport England and Royal Borough of Kingston to book training pools and one-to-one coaching has been enormously rewarding. It has fulfilled so many members’ dreams of swimming for the first time. We have also inspired members who have lost their sight later in life to regain their confidence to go back into the pool with one-to-one coaching with separate lanes in the pool, thus avoiding the fear of collisions and people jumping into roped-off areas.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a Trustee?

Sit in at a few meetings first, go along to some activities, meet the members, check out our newsletters and see what a difference you can make to the visually impaired community.

Can you sum up your experience in three words?

Life changing experience

If you have been inspired by Roy’s experience, consider becoming a trustee with Kingston Association for the Blind or check out other opportunities in Kingston and become a volunteer today.

Spotlight: Kingston Buddy Scheme

What does your organisation do? 

The Kingston Buddy Scheme is a befriending project which matches volunteers with a buddy who has learning disabilities or autism. The scheme has been running for over 20 years and has been a positive experience for many dozens of service users and volunteers alike. Great, lasting friendships have been formed.

Why do you want to involve volunteers in your organisation? 

Volunteers who can spare a few hours a month to meet their buddy are the lifeblood of our scheme – we cannot function without our volunteers and we are hugely appreciative of everything they do and bring to our scheme.

What volunteer role/s do you have available? 

We need volunteer befrienders who can spare a few hours a month to take their buddy out to leisure activities which they might otherwise not be able to attend. We provide full training for our volunteers and we reimburse their expenses.

Find out more and apply here!

What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for your organisation? 

Do it! Our scheme is so rewarding for our volunteers. You will make a huge difference to your buddy’s life and you will gain great life experiences along the way.

Spotlight: Volunteering with Dyscover

Dyscover charity - supplied image

Thinking about volunteering in Kingston? Find out more about local organisations and their volunteering opportunities with our Spotlight series!

What does your organisation do in Kingston? 

For almost 30 years, Dyscover has been providing long term support and opportunity to people with aphasia and their families. Aphasia is a neurological condition, acquired through stroke, brain injury or a rare form of dementia and is very isolating and frustrating. Aphasia affects a person’s communication, including their ability to find words, construct sentences and understand language, both written and spoken. 

We work to inform, support, and empower people with aphasia to manage their communication disability and to re-engage with life. We create an aphasia friendly environment in which people feel included, valued, and have a sense of purpose. 

Daily sessions are led by professional speech and language therapists, supported by a team of volunteers, and designed to help people adjust to living with aphasia. We help our members to develop strategies for communicating, maximise abilities and provide help and support for partners, carers, and other family members. 

Dyscover charity - supplied image

Why do you want to involve volunteers in your organisation? 

Volunteers are an integral part of Dyscover, making up 80% of our team and we could not provide our crucial services without their support.

What volunteer role/s do you have available? 

We are looking for new volunteers to join the team at our Kingston group. Volunteers support our members (who have aphasia) in a structured and therapeutic conversation group with Speech and Language Therapists. The group is designed to help our members adjust to life with aphasia, develop different communication strategies and regain confidence. 

Who are you looking for? 

We look for friendly, positive individuals keen to learn about aphasia and want to make a real difference to our members. No previous experience of working with people with disabilities is needed as full training and ongoing support are provided. 

When & where?

Kingston Quaker Centre on Tuesdays at 9.30am-12.30 (term time only)

What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for your organisation? 

If you are considering volunteering with Dyscover, you can chat with our Volunteer Coordinator and arrange to go along and see the group in action which is the best way to learn more about what we do and how our volunteers support our members. We are a very friendly and welcoming team. Our volunteers tell us that it is a hugely rewarding role and that they really get so much from volunteering with us.

Celebrating Volunteering and Discovering the Power of Giving

National Volunteers Week (June 1st-June 7th, every year) was a tremendous success, and here at Volunteering Kingston, we are constantly reminded of the invaluable contributions of volunteers. We believe in spreading this celebratory spirit to all organizations engaging with their communities.  

That’s why we’re thrilled to extend a warm invitation to the upcoming Discover Volunteering in Kingston event, set to take place on Thursday, July 20th, at the vibrant All Saints Church in Kingston, from 6pm to 8pm. 

The Discover Volunteering in Kingston event, inspired by the previous year’s Big Thank You gathering, is designed for everyone eager to explore local volunteering opportunities and express gratitude to those already making a difference. This event is a collaborative effort with partners like The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, Kingston Hospital, Kingston University, Kingston Voluntary Action, The Kingston Pound Project, and many others, all contributing to its planning. With such fantastic support, we hope to welcome a remarkable number of residents to join in on the festivities. 

What can you expect at the event? It will be an exciting multi-layered affair, including: 

  • A Volunteer Fair, showcasing selected volunteering-involving projects 
  • Networking over tea 
  • Heartwarming entertainment, with singing performances 
  • An inspiring sewing corner exhibition run by refugees 
  • A unique volunteering exchange tree 
  • A keynote speech by the esteemed Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Kirsch 
  • Plus, we’re still working on other fantastic surprises! 

The best part? This event is entirely free to attend! We can’t wait to see you there! 

Let us know you’re coming by clicking the Eventbrite link here: 

Join us in July 2023 for a day of joy, connection, and the celebration of volunteering in the beautiful community of Kingston! 

Discover Volunteering in Kingston Event – Everyone Welcome!

Volunteering event in Kingston

Are you interested in volunteering, but just don’t know where to start? Join us and discover the amazing opportunities available in Kingston!

Whether you’re looking to give back to your community, gain new skills, or meet new people, Kingston has something to suit you.

There are so many ways you can make a difference, so join us for the chance to meet with local charities and organisations and learn about the different ways you can get involved from the people who know best.

All are welcome, so come along and discover how you can get involved and make a positive impact in Kingston!

To register your interest in attending, please reserve a spot via our Eventbrite page.

Date: 20th July 2023

Location: All Saints Church Market Place Kingston upon Thames KT1 1JP

Cost: Free

Time: 18:00 – 20:00

National Volunteers’ Week: Guidance pack for VIOs

Volunteers’ Week is a national campaign which takes place between 1-7 June every year. It’s a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you.

Volunteers’ Week is supported and celebrated by small grassroots organisations as well as larger, household-name charities, who together run hundreds of activities across the UK. These activities showcase and celebrate volunteers and the contribution volunteering makes to our communities. As a Kingston Volunteer Involving Organisation, we’re asking you to join us in thanking and celebrating the brilliant volunteers giving their time across our borough.

We have created this organisation campaign pack to support you with communications and volunteer engagement through NVW2023. You will find advice and recommendations for ways to give thanks to your volunteers, including social media templates. We hope you find it useful!

Download our guidance pack here: National Volunteers’ Week Organisation Campaign Pack

Volunteering over Christmas, from a younger heart. 


I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a Christmas that has had so little joy in the build-up (and I consider the two Covid pandemic Christmas’s). A combination of war in Europe, the cost of living, the state of play with the climate, and even the weather with the recent cold spell seem to be inviting us to have a pessimistic outlook on the festivities. You could say there is no point fighting reality or you could, as I’m about to suggest, think of things from the heart and let that bring a glimmer of joy to the end of 2022. 

Christmas is always an interesting time for volunteering and volunteers. It is during this period that society notices the contribution of volunteers and the voluntary sector the most. The massive efforts put in to ensure rough-sleepers get some relief. The reaching out to the lonely and isolated. The collecting of items to pass on to children who have very little. The food banks bulging with generosity being distributed widely (too widely for a first world country in the 21st century, some would say) to families in need. All these things can be seen and they remind us that we still have a population that wishes to contribute and assist. 

It is also a tradition that people offer themselves up quite at this time of year, engaging in the volunteering activities listed above: a sign that the spirit and drive of volunteering lives on regardless of the harsh realities of the year that is ending. This annual influx of volunteers is made possible by the meticulous organisation and preparation of homeless shelters, toy banks, food banks and befriending schemes. All of them need to plan months in advance to ensure volunteers are trained and DBS checked.  

If there is one part of 2022 that lifts my spirits it is the age demographic change that has taken place. Understandably there has been a noticeable drop in the cohort we used to call “time rich” (retired in old money) since the pandemic. Usually, this would be a cause for concern but actually what has happened is a younger cohort, one we were struggling to connect with pre-Covid, has stood up to more than compensate for the decline in older volunteers. This is a development that raises spirits across the age demographic, even the most jaundiced of volunteer managers will be heartened by this development. 

Of course, if we can persuade those with extensive life experience back into volunteering we would have the best of both worlds. Combining the enthusiasm of the young with the knowledge of the old. Imagine the successful delivery of all the vital tasks needed over Christmas and New Year and the goals that could be achieved this time next year. Volunteering is being reinvigorated by the young who are putting their hearts into it, that for me provides more to look forward to than any lack of enthusiasm generated by the headlines. Christmas 2022 can be enjoyed and all of us at Volunteering Kingston wish you all the joy there is for the festive period.  


By Michael Green

The importance of looking forward

All the challenges of the last few weeks have rather counter-intuitively generated a sense of ambition within the Voluntary and Community Sector that also motivates volunteers. Respect for and contribution to local communities is now wider, it is more action-orientated and has more traction than that bygone age called 2019.

Looking at Kingston as a borough, how it performed, came together, and responded to challenges (lockdowns, needs, vaccinations, new levels of poverty previously hidden etc.) gives us a clear picture of how important it is to maintain and build on the partnerships and successes of our collective work. That includes the volunteer experience. To get there I have laid out a wish list, but first, a caveat: this list is what a possible future could look like albeit relying heavily on reasonable funds, resources and partnerships to make it a reality and success. The purpose of promoting these possibilities is to invite comments and stimulate alternative suggestions.

  • Hubs, e.g. in pubs/shops/community spaces. Take a model of community space as promoted in the 2021 report on Surbiton Resilience “Every-day life in Surbiton” and replicate where practicable across the borough. Volunteers are attracted to helping in their micro-local locations, this would be a brilliant stimulus to that.
  • Food Heroes. Embed the foodbank street collection system that sprung up locally during the pandemic into the fabric of the borough so that it survives and thrives going forward
  • Time-bank/Skills exchange. Create a borough-wide system with a focus on stimulating volunteering in women whose first language is not English. This would both increase volunteering numbers and be a massive boon to the volunteer experience of a significantly socially isolated part of our community.
  • “Friends of” groups. Expand existing groups for parks/open land/under-utilised green spaces, which is being demonstrated by successful models in other localities. Friends of groups tend to tap into individuals not engaged in their communities already.
  • Bringing together a range of volunteer-led sporting activities/clubs under one banner that stimulates physical activity. Sports volunteering could add so much positive value to public health campaigns. This model could equally apply to the local smaller arts and culture groups.
  • Kingston Stronger Together Hub. Evolve it into a Kingston Council funded “Sustainable Volunteering” Hub, requiring both the Council and partners to be involved. Sustainability projects for volunteering by definition will change the borough landscape positively.
  • A social action portal. Create a web-based interface that advertises all social action activities locally no matter how small/micro in nature. This would be really helpful in attracting younger people to activities.

This list is not definitive, as they say, “other pipe-dreams are available” but I commend them to your thinking if, like us at Volunteering Kingston, re-imaging the Volunteer Experience is important to you.