Volunteer’s Week, from 1st to 7th June, is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. Locally, Team Oxford has launched a movement to build more collaborations between charities and volunteers wanting to improve lives.
Team Oxford is a collective of local charities, businesses and public sector organisations that recognise that ‘volunteering’ as we know it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to fit into busy lives. At the same time, they argue that the need for us all to get more involved is growing, as charities and public services have fewer resources available to mobilise and retain our support.
Team Oxford has therefore been launched to make it easier for people, communities and organisations to work together to make a difference for the city – in a way that is more exciting, more flexible and more effective. This will include promoting Good Deeds for Oxford , actions anyone can do to help the city straight away; a presence at RSA Motivate on 10th June (of which OCF is a sponsor); and support for the Oxford Big Tea Party on 16th June.
The Big Tea Party will mobilise volunteers from charities and businesses to serve tea and cake to around 80 isolated older people. The event is the launch of the ‘A place at the table’ campaign to tackle loneliness in Oxfordshire, championed by Aspire and Cutteslowe Community Association. Both charities run vital community transport services for elderly people which are a lifeline in reducing isolation and promoting independence; these services are under threat of closure in the coming months, but funds raised will go towards helping both charities maintain and expand their community transport services. OCF is providing £2,500 of match funding for the campaign, which is accepting donations here.
OCF has also been working closely with Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action to begin an employee volunteering programme for businesses that are members of our responsible business group Reciprocate. Volunteers’ Week is no exception, with several companies making pledges to increase employee volunteering as part of their commitment to Reciprocate. Highlights include both estate agents Scott Fraser and accountants CRM deciding to give every member of staff a day off a year for volunteering; Ella Pickard of Organisation Unlimited teaching ex-offenders to cook; and web technology firm Olamalu pledging to get more of their young workforce offering their skills to charities.