Why volunteer? Get inspired with our team’s volunteering stories

Many of us at Renaisi volunteer for a variety of different reasons. Read our team's stories and get inspired.

Volunteering is a really rewarding way of creating impact and giving back to your community. It also helps you build your confidence, increase your wellbeing and connect to others. This volunteers’ week we’d like to celebrate the varied volunteering experiences of staff here at Renaisi. Get inspired with these great stories shared by our team.

 

Why volunteer? Get inspired with our team’s volunteering stories

Mikey Lynam

What I do

Recently, I volunteered with a refugee charity called The Welcoming. My role was of a ‘Befriender’ and, as the title suggests, my work was more of a lets-explore-the-city-as-friends kind of nature.

Omar grew up in a small town in Syria and had lived in the UK for just over a year when I met him. Before this, he was travelling through Turkey and across Europe, away from the war in his country.

Why I do it

I couldn’t have anticipated how close we would become. To him, I think our time together provided an opportunity to air his frustrations about the whole process of settling into a country as a ‘refugee’ as well as all of the burdens that that label can bring along with it. To me, Omar is an enormous source of wisdom. His attitude is a unique combination of optimism and all-round groundedness. As we walked, and sat, and chatted around Edinburgh I heard thoughtful insight upon thoughtful insight. Thankfully, we’re still in touch. We often talk on the phone and I’ll be back up to Scotland to visit in August.

My favourite thing about volunteering is…

Its reciprocal nature. It’s important to remember that you stand to get out just as much out as you put in.


Rhiannon Britt

What I do

I volunteer with Beyond the Streets, a UK charity working to end sexual exploitation. It runs an outreach service called Door of Hope for women who are exploited by prostitution. Volunteers go out on the street In Tower Hamlets from 10pm-2am on Fridays and from 5am-8am every other Thursday. We provide hot drinks, sexual health support and signposting to local services.

Why I do it
What I love about this work is that we are encouraged to build relationships with the women that we meet. Therefore it’s often not the hot chocolate that the they look forward to, but the conversations and our positive presence on the streets.

My favourite thing about volunteering is…
I really enjoy talking to all of the women that we meet, listening to their stories, and trying to offer compassion and understanding. You can hear their stories for yourself here.

 

Toby Hopwood

Why volunteer? Get inspired with our team’s volunteering stories

What I do

I’m a founding trustee of a charity, London Football Journeys (LFJ). It brings together young people from across London through mixed football games, building their confidence, team work and leaderships skills and encouraging them to engage with others outside their neighbourhoods. The groups of young people make films about their areas which are played to the other group. And each year, all of the schools and youth clubs involved come together for a celebration at Wembley Stadium.

Why I do it

I passionately believe in LFJ’s mission. I’m not football mad – but with violence regularly being inflicted by young people in London on each other, and regular demonisation in the media, LFJ’s work is increasingly vital. And my experience of the young people involved has been really positive, challenging negative stereotypes.

The best thing about volunteering is…

Doing something positive with people who you wouldn’t normally meet.

 

Louisa Thomson

What I do

I am a trustee at Manor House Development Trust (MHDT). It’s a social enterprise based on Woodberry Down in Hackney, where one of the largest regeneration programmes in London is happening. MHDT delivers projects, services and activities for local residents – and helps other organisations to do the same.

Why I do it

The Trust’s focus is on providing spaces for community benefit, and empowering local people to take action – which is something I’m passionate about, particularly for a community going through such fundamental change. When I stopped being a local councillor I wanted to do something very local to me, and it’s nice to have the time to do so!

The best thing about volunteering is…

Being constantly excited about all the fantastic things that MHDT runs and initiates from our base at the Redmond Centre, where there is always something happening!

 

Why volunteer? Get inspired with our team’s volunteering storiesDarryl Childs

What I do

I volunteer at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home as a Foster Carer for the cattery. I have fostered over 25 animals since 2013. I take in cats that are recovering from surgery or that have behaviour issues, or cats that are just not happy in the cattery.

Why I do it

I find it very rewarding to see cats come to me as timid shy animals and then by the time they get adopted, they are animals with confidence and personality. I always get asked how I don’t get attached to them. I do get attached in a way, but I take them knowing that I’m just a stepping stone in a better life for them in their permanent homes.

The best thing about volunteering is…

Knowing that even though I am only doing a small thing, it helps so many. Battersea are incredibly supportive to all their volunteers, giving them everything they need to do their job properly.


Rebecca Simpson

What I do

Since November last year I’ve been a volunteer mentor on the Make It! Programme. The programme involves one-to-one mentoring with a young person 12-13 years old, and aims to improve their wellbeing through increasing their confidence, communication skills, combating social isolation, and increasing their engagement with school.

Why I do it

I was interested in finding out how young people today are experiencing the world around them. I remember 12-13 being quite a challenging and confusing age as so much was changing. I probably would have loved being involved in something like Make It! If I’d had the chance. I also felt that becoming a mentor would really challenge my communication and interpersonal skills – and it did!

The best thing about volunteering is…

Having an opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and hear different perspectives on things. With mentoring in particular, you have to earn the young person’s trust, so when they do start trusting you and opening up to you, you feel a real sense of achievement.

Fabiolla Lorusso
Fabiolla Lorusso

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