A day in the life of a volunteer – David Newsome

David Newsome and his wife Jane have been volunteering with #BrumTogether for the last two months. On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, they both deliver food parcels to homes in Alum Rock, Washwood Heath, Saltley, Small Heath, Ward End, Yardley and Sheldon.

Volunteers have been integral to the #BrumTogether food distribution network by helping with sorting, packing, and delivering over 30,000 food parcels to Birmingham locals in need. There are over 300 volunteers involved in the food distribution network and many more who support other services such as Befriending.

For David and Jane, volunteering has been an exciting and rewarding experience:

‘Our first day came as something of a shock! We had emerged almost straight from the bubble of two weeks’ self-isolation, so arriving at Ladywood Community Centre for the first time felt almost like entering a war zone, in terms of the intensity of purpose, the number of people and the scale of the logistics!  However, everyone was friendly and helpful, and there was a real spirit of “we’re all in this new thing together, so let’s find a way of doing it well”.

We love the fact that TAWS [The Active Wellbeing Society] has completely repurposed to meet the needs of the communities it serves, and we admire the “can do” attitude of the TAWS staff, who are certainly not doing the jobs they initially signed up for!

We admire those who deliver the parcels on their own: finding the addresses and finding a parking space in busy narrow streets can be stressful, so we are pleased to be working together. We have enjoyed opportunities to do repeat visits and to build up a bit of a rapport, especially with those who are isolating and don’t have many visitors.

We both gave up our full-time jobs 5 years ago in order to volunteer full-time with a Christian NGO that works in 8 countries of Southern Africa called ‘Hands at Work in Africa’, supporting orphans and vulnerable children. We are committed to this organisation because it is community based and seeks to join in with those who are already making a difference in their communities. We usually invite teams from partner communities in the UK to visit their link communities in Africa. The visits are not happening this year, of course because of Covid-19 restrictions, so it has been good for us to be able work with the vulnerable in our own city.

In volunteering with TAWS, we are pleased to be part of an organisation that is community based and seeks to support the vulnerable people in our city.’

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with #BrumTogether, check out the ‘Meet the Volunteers’ series, or visit: www.theaws.co.uk/support.

Nina Conway
Author: Nina Conway