Volunteering for Hackney launches to help grow grassroots groups
Local organisations are being asked to take part in a new Council initiative to help small voluntary groups make a big difference in their communities.
The Volunteering for Hackney initiative was launched at a Volunteer Centre Hackney event at Hackney Museum on Tuesday 20 June by Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, and Cabinet Member for Energy, Sustainability, and Community Services Cllr Jon Burke.
Around 50 people attended from organisations including literacy charity Hackney Pirates, repair and reuse project Hackney Fixers, cooking school Bags of Taste, anti-hate crime trust Stop Hate UK, and sports clubs Hackney Wick FC and Mini Mermaids.
The project was developed after extensive consultation undertaken by the Council in 2015 identified that residents wanted to get to know each other, contribute to their community and take greater responsibility for looking after the environment.
The Council is looking for groups to participate in Volunteering for Hackney, and in return will offer structured, strategic support. This includes everything from setting a Facebook page or a website, to filling in grant applications, learning how to get the best out of volunteers through the right training and setting up as a registered charity.
Hackney Council, Volunteer Centre Hackney and Hackney CVS, who have joined forces to operate the initiative, want to ensure that small community organisations and groups that operate at a very local level, are being fully enabled by the Council and other public services to help them thrive and grow.
I am passionate that community action is central to responding to some of the biggest challenges we as a borough face. When I was elected last September I added greater focus on volunteering in the Cabinet to reflect the challenges community groups are beginning to face. I also pledged to create a new network to support more volunteering and community involvement right across the borough. I was proud to launch this initiative, Volunteering for Hackney, and hope many grassroots organisations and activists can get involved.
The material inequalities that now exist in Hackney present a real challenge to maintaining the social cohesion that makes the borough such a special place to live. We know that volunteering and greater social participation in our community helps to reduce the sense of isolation and resentment that inequality can produce. Volunteering for Hackney will seek to harness the incredible enthusiasm and resourcefulness of our grassroots voluntary organisations to combat these challenges. We want to ensure that small community organisations and groups that operate effectively at a very local level, despite few resources, are able to recruit greater numbers of volunteers and increase the impact of their activities.