Week in and week out, I hear stories of individuals or community groups finding it incredibly hard to find volunteers and helpers (and of course the money) to run community projects – and the other volunteers and I face the same issues at the youth club I help with. In addition, there is increasing pressure to provide safe places for young people to have fun and /or learn safely and provide communities with new opportunities, the chance to develop new skills in leisure time, improve quality of life, and raise aspirations. This is what Groop take place.
I’ve always felt that volunteering shouldn’t feel onerous and should be just a normal way of life for us all. When I visited Sweden last winter and talked to national charities and other conference attendees, I was struck by how they didn’t recognise what I meant by being a volunteer – they just took it for granted rather than seeing it as a separate task. It appeared to be interwoven into their society.
There are many, many people in this country who also ‘volunteer’ as a way of life, but there are many, many others who want to help but don’t know how to go about it, are time-pressed or just need some guidance on how it could fit with their skills. If only we could bring everyone together in the same place to help them engage with local projects, think how much impact we could make!
I can’t solve all these issues, but the Groop team do our bit and we never forget our aims of providing everyone with access to a range of well-run community clubs – we are reminded on a daily basis by our fantastic customers who tell us frequently that they couldn’t keep their club going without us. Well done team!