Introducing the voluntary sector
Introducing the voluntary sector

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Introducing the voluntary sector

2.2 Volunteering case studies

Surveys of volunteering activities are useful, but overall percentages or quantities do not provide much information about the extent of variation in a volunteer’s work or exactly what these activities entail. Case studies and interviews can help to illustrate this and give a sense of what volunteers think about the work they do. In the next activity, you will watch a video featuring volunteers talking about their roles.

Activity 4 Spotlight on volunteers

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Watch this video in which four volunteers talk about their volunteering roles. Make some notes on the activities the volunteers participate in. Also think about whether you get a sense of the impact or value that volunteering has on them. If you are a volunteer, how do their experiences compare with your own?

Download this video clip.Video player: volb1_wk7_activity4_volunteers_ou_pro_res_master_edited.mp4
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Louisa Allen
Well, I’m Louisa Allen, and I volunteer at the British Red Cross. I’ve had different roles over the time that I’ve been with them. I started off working with schools and youth. So it was going to assemblies, children’s assemblies, and talking about the work of the Red Cross, how to be a good citizen, and also refugees and their role within society, and some of the issues they have.
And now I’ve moved into first aid. So I now – I trained up to be a British Red Cross first aider. And I go to events and first aid for the Red Cross, really.
Bernard Coen
My name is Bernard Coen, and I volunteer in a church where at the moment I lead a Sunday school class and help lead discussion groups.
Hi, my name is Sas. I do a few different types of volunteering. I help read to kids at the local primary school. I volunteer at our local library, and I – for a few months out of the year, I volunteer at a homeless shelter.
Lisa Harris
My name is Lisa Harris, and I volunteer, firstly, as a trustee for small charity called Bravery Boxes. And secondly, I’m involved with a local theatre company called the Swan Theatre Company in Bedford. Bravery Boxes is a small charity, which was started by a friend of mine whose son had a brain tumour. And when he was two, he was taken into Addenbrookes. And he didn’t like all the needles, and having a nose tube, and all those unpleasant, unfortunate things that happen to children with cancer.
So blackmail and bribery is the best form with a child like that. So, as soon as he went into the room to have a blood test or a nose tube, she would pull out a little treat, like bubbles, or some marbles, or something that would just distract him for a couple of moments. She started to raise money so the other children on the Oncology ward in Addenbrookes could do this also. And she then decided to make it into a formal charity.
And she asked me about two years ago to come on as one of the founding trustees. So, that’s what we do. We raise money to fill the Bravery Boxes. And we’re now in Alder Hey, Addenbrookes, and Manchester. And hopefully, soon we’ll be in a couple of other oncology wards in the country.
And with the theatre group, it’s a local theatre group. We put on four performances a year, and I, at the moment, run front of house. So, I organise the rota, get everybody there to work behind the bar, sell programmes, etc. But I also direct and sometimes act.
End transcript
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You probably noted the range of tasks these volunteers carry out and perhaps gained a sense of what volunteering means to them. The tasks included running Sunday school sessions and discussion groups, organising and fundraising for a Bravery Box scheme for children’s hospital wards, helping in a library and helping at a food scheme for homeless people.

This section has given you an overview of the types of activities and roles that volunteers take on. In the next section you will explore who volunteers.


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