A friend of mine texted me in advance of meeting up in a pub recently. They felt the need to explain the diverse characteristics of their friend (who was considering joining us). Those characteristics seemed no more unusual than is the welcome norm in places like London.
I reflected on this and felt that, whilst the pre-explanation was unnecessary, the fact that diversity is the norm is something to reflect joyfully on.
In volunteering, diversity has existed for a long time. Yes it, like all aspects of our society, has taken time to evolve and becomes more inclusive as we can learn ways of best practice. But the reality is, the range, issues and diverse clients of voluntary organisations, the issues those organisations are embedded in, and the range of clients served have meant volunteering has always been an outlier for progress and change. Long it may continue.
What volunteering has shown again and again is that as diversity becomes second nature the strength of the sector, and the individual driving forces behind that strength, grow exponentially. Signposting, social prescribing, opportunities for all, reaching out to the seldom heard or seen, welcoming those displaced… All these cascade engagements and understanding, which then allows for enhanced contributions and shared experiences across a wide range of diverse backgrounds. A virtuous circle we can all enjoy.
National Volunteers’ Week (June 1st to June 7th) will celebrate the strength of diversity – and rightly so. Ultimately, when we celebrate that diverse strength in volunteering, we are celebrating ourselves.
We are all diverse, all different, all unique in so many ways; and we contribute to a united strength that is unsurpassable.
Michael Green, Volunteering Kingston Project Manager
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