As Charlie House celebrates Volunteers' Week 2021, we look at our diverse volunteer roles and the way in which these have adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Volunteers’ Week 2021 is an opportunity for us to celebrate Charlie House volunteers. But for us it’s not just about one week, we really do appreciate Charlie House volunteers every day of the year.
They are a diverse team – everyone bringing their own skills, talents, energy and ideas. We are always open to what our volunteers can offer and this year, more than any, we have relied on their enthusiasm, flexibility and willingness to learn new things or do old things in new ways.
So who are the Charlie House volunteers and what to they get up to?
ReCHarge Café volunteers are a friendly group who are very much part of the team in our café located in the Bon Accord Aberdeen. They greet customers with a smile (under their masks for now) and take part in general front of house duties such as serving food and drinks and helping at promotional tasting sessions. When the café re-opened after lockdown last October, staff and volunteers, stepped up to implement Covid-safe measures including enhanced cleaning, physical distancing and track & trace – whilst ensuring that customers still received a warm welcome along with their coffee and ‘fine piece’. We are looking forward to welcoming volunteers back to the café when it re-opens (again) on 7th June.
The Children and Family Activity volunteer team help our service team at many family activities, preparing and serving refreshments, doing arts and crafts, meeting and greeting families or providing therapies. While these activities haven’t taken place in person over this last year, some volunteers have provided support to our families online by filming different activities for families to access anytime they want. For some volunteers delivering virtual activities was all very new to them – we know that they and the families enjoyed it. This team also had the opportunity to take in a Makaton taster session – something they will be able to use when we return to face-to-face activities.
Behind any charity, there is always a busy office with no shortage of things to do. Charlie House office volunteers can find themselves packaging and sending out orders for our online shop, helping with stock checks (lots of t-shirt counting!), preparing merchandise boxes for events, wrapping prizes for raffles or tombolas, updating databases, providing general administration, or marketing and communications support. If you would like to read some more about what it takes to be a marketing and communications support volunteer, find Roisin’s article here. Volunteering from home has allowed some of these activities to continue during lockdowns but we are looking forward to seeing this team back in the office just as soon as such things are possible.
Our event volunteers are the face of Charlie House – often manning stands filled with merch such as Charlie Dog toys, pens, mugs and more, whilst raising awareness for our special charity. In the past, events volunteers have helped at Charlie House events such as The Big Build Ball, Fizz & Fashion Friday as well as third party events such as Ride the North or Run Balmoral.
Thanks to Santa and a fabulous team of elves, Charlie House was able to host its first Santa’s Workshop in 2020. Towards the end of December there was a change in regulations for Santa experiences, but Santa and his Elves did not disappoint, moving swiftly to offer a virtual Santa’s Workshop experience. We know it’s only June, but we are already making plans for Santa’s Workshop 2021.
Volunteers were also key to the success of the Aberdeen Indoor Christmas Market – welcoming customers to the market as well as manning the Charlie House stall. Following on this success Charlie House is looking forward to the opening of Curated Aberdeen – an indoor market featuring a wide range of independent stall holders.
Covid restrictions have meant that our mascot, Charlie Dog, has not been able to get out and about of late but we look forward to our mascot volunteers being able to put their best paw forward.
It’s always fun and rewarding to be a Charlie House volunteer and the team are incredibly proud of everything our volunteers have done and achieved, particularly over the last year which has not been without its challenges! Each and every volunteer is indeed at Charlie House hero!