Volunteering, free labour or a lifeline?

Picture by: Anil Parmer, Poached
Creative's fifth birthday party
It is often argued that volunteers are the backbone of the charity sector, according to the Guardian 91% of charities are entirely run by unpaid staff. However, volunteering is mutually beneficial to volunteers as well as employers, it is a two way stream, and based on my brief experience as a volunteer with Poached Creative I could argue that it is more rewarding to the volunteer than to the company itself.

I would not be exaggerating if I say that volunteering is transforming my life by the minute. 
Looking back at my life one year ago, I was in turmoil; depressed, experiencing all sorts of family conflicts, having to drop out of University, losing my flat, being imprisoned twice in the space of one year. My life was a mortifying chapter from a horror book. I was in an utter state of despair; I woke up every day thinking the End of the world is past noon. I would never have envisaged digging myself out of that hole.

However, I was very fortunate to learn about Poached Creative through The Big Issue on line journalism course. A course provided by Poached Creative in conjunction with the Big Issue; at the time I lacked the drive, and the motivation to start something new. I missed two initial induction interviews.  And when I thought that I messed it up for myself. The managing director of Poached Creative Jessica Smith contacted me again, and we scheduled another interview which this time I attended. I am ever indebted to her patience.

I then attended the six week Journalism course, which was a turning point in my life. Not only did I acquire new skills.   The whole experience profoundly impacted the way I perceived my future, it instilled a sense of optimism and hope towards the future, which incentivised  me to work harder and improve myself. The depression and helplessness I was feeling began to fade away by the week.

I successfully completed the course and progressed to a volunteering role within Poached Creative, which is a design and writing social enterprise.

Having something to wake up to makes all the difference, it drives you to work harder and open your eyes to opportunities you would otherwise have missed. It enriches your experience and boosts your morale.

Buy Social showcased to PR industry

The City of London Guild of Public Relations Practitioners and the PRCA held their first ever “Buy Social” forum, on 10 June, which aimed to persuade agencies and in-house teams to buy from social enterprises.

The event, hosted by Lloyds Banking Group, was attended by members from across the PR spectrum and featured a panel discussion and a showcase of social enterprises and networking.

Jonathan Chandler, Master of PR Guild delivered the opening speech and moderated the debate, which focused on identifying actionable next steps and addressing any concerns or issues arising from them.

Among the speakers were Matt Cartmel, Communication Director of PRCA; Suzanne Jones, Business and Support Director of City of London Corporation and  Celia Richardson, Director of Communications and Policy at Social Enterprise UK.

The Director of Poached Creative Jessica Smith also spoke to share her experience of working with the PR sector. She said:
"We work to put creative communications jobs within reach for disadvantaged people. You want to diversify your industry and we can help with that. Social entrepreneurs come from a range of backgrounds with experience in the media, corporate and charity sectors and we're keen to work in partnership with you on issues like this."

"Take a look at the directory and you'll see that there are social enterprises for almost anything you would want to buy. The most powerful way you can support the social enterprise sector is to trade with us."

The Buy Social Directory was launched on 4 June at the Guildhall by the Minister of Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP. To find out more visit http://www.buysocialdirectory.org.uk/ .