Raising the flag for volunteers
Volunteer Week is a chance to celebrate and recognise the work of over 16 million people who volunteered through a group, club or organisation in 2021/22. At Partnership for Children we appreciate the time and dedication of our Trustees who have steered the charity through good times and challenging times. This week we were delighted to welcome two of our new Trustees into the office to meet the team as part of their induction - it was a joy to meet face to face rather than via Zoom. As a charity that relies on volunteers, we also recognise the importance of enabling our own team to volunteer – I’m a Trustee of a grant giving trust, Hannah is a school governor – and our staff team are allowed up to 3 days’ paid leave per year for Charity Trustee and School Governor duties as part of our commitment to staff development and to giving back to the sector.
It is well known that volunteering not only supports organisations but has been shown to improve volunteers’ well-being too. Last week, I took a day and half annual leave to volunteer as a ‘flag carrier’ at a football match. The invitation to volunteer from UEFA that dropped into my inbox hadn’t come entirely out of the blue – I had taken time off work last summer to volunteer at Wembley Stadium for the European Football Championships. The e-mail was intriguing – a 12-hour rehearsal, followed by carrying flags onto the pitch at the start of the Finalissima 2022 match between Italy and Argentina. The only prerequisite was to be able to run on and off the pitch and do ‘light fast movements’. I said yes, filled in all the forms and duly arrived at a north London stadium on a wet and cold Monday morning last week to practise. Two days later, along with 150 other volunteers, I was running onto the pitch at Wembley in front of a crowd of 86,000 noisy fans holding a huge Italian football shirt shaped flag.
So what did I and my fellow volunteers get out of this flag carrying experience? It was a chance to meet a diverse crowd of people – from students to retired civil servants, from primary school teachers to lawyers, from those who love football to those who love volunteering at events. It was chance to do something completely different from my day job at PfC that depended on a high level of team work and an ability to follow sometimes quite complex instructions. For many of us, it was an unexpected chance to meet up again with people we had volunteered with last summer, and some of whom we’ll meet again at the Women’s Euros this summer. But most of all it was a fun and unforgettable experience – a chance to do something completely different that brought joy to the spectators as well as the volunteers.
For those of you who are interested in a voluntary Trustee position at Partnership for Children, please have a look at our Trustee role description. We can’t offer you the thrill of running onto the pitch at Wembley but we can offer you a chance to meet new people, learn new skills and contribute in a meaningful way to improve the social and emotional well-being of children around the world.