I am David Rinaldi and I’m Brandon Trust's new Volunteering Manager, based at the Brandon East office in Battersea, London.
I've been spending a lot of my time visiting Brandon Trust services, meeting staff and the people we support, and hearing about how they think volunteers could help, or how they are already involving volunteers.
I've been focussing so far on what we're provisionally calling our Volunteer Buddies. What I'd love to see happen is for everyone Brandon Trust supports to be able to access extra support from a volunteer buddy if they want it. It could be to do something that's important to them, whether that's an activity out in the community, like going swimming or going to the park or learning a new skill at home like cooking or gardening. It could be help doing a personal project like decorating their home the way they want it, or getting a job, or working towards one of their dreams.
This is about how we can use volunteers to enable the people we support to do things that paid staff simply don't have the time to. It's about improving the quality of life of the people we support, helping them broaden their horizons and build their confidence; truly supporting and enabling them to live the lives they choose.
What we're trying to do in London is put tools and systems in place, that in time we can share across Brandon Trust, enabling us all to involve as many suitable volunteers as possible, as efficiently and safely as possible.
We are developing a piece of software called Slivers of Time. It's a little bit like a dating website, and should enable the people we support to quickly and easily pick a volunteer who is a good match (i.e. the volunteer shares some of the person's interests, and has free time when they do).
Another example is a short, accessible booklet about the buddy scheme produced for the people we support. The idea is that Support Workers go through the booklet with them, explaining what volunteers are, and encouraging them to think through how a volunteer might help them.
If you're interested in volunteering some of your time then don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com