Volunteering – you are trained and listened to
This week’s blog posts are brought to you by volunteers who are supporting local play projects involved in the Free Time Consortium’s ‘Get Involved in Play’ programme funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund. We want to celebrate the amazing work done by the volunteers – children, parents and grandparents – who Love Outdoor Play. And, as this week is National Volunteer’s Week, what better opportunity to showcase their efforts and to say thank you. We hope you enjoy their stories and they motivate you to get involved in your local play project and support Love Outdoor Play!
An interview with Naomi Wright.
Where do you volunteer?
Fort Apache and with the Exploring Nature Play project in general
When did you begin volunteering?
Autumn 2011 (actually I can’t remember exactly)!
How many hours per week do you volunteer?
10 – 15 hours per week
What does your volunteer role consist of?
Representing the project and Play England at some meetings and conferences, being an additional playworker when needed, taking part and helping to organise particular events, doing some research and observational work and providing an activity of interest through art.
What influenced you to volunteer in the first instance?
Keeping my professional interest and skills in connecting people with the natural world, working with children, providing play opportunities and concern for environmental justice and equality.
What do you enjoy the most about your volunteering role?
Discovering more about playing outdoors – the roles of the play workers, the way children discover things about themselves and their place in nature. Being accepted and allowed to gradually take on more, being able to experiment, fail or succeed. Being outdoors in the woods, in an open space with no fences and a sense of freedom and spontaneity.
What skills / qualifications have you gained from volunteering?
- Volunteer in Play training
- Enabling more free play
- Cooking on a fire
- Sound recordings and research techniques
- Inspiration for my art
- Confidence in my ability
In what way has your volunteering helped the playground and/or improved nature play opportunities for children and young people?
I have encouraged children to express how their play makes them feel and how important it is to them, therefore increasing an awareness of the nature of the playground. I have also enabled some research to be done(Good from Woods) and supported some special events.
Would you recommend volunteering to others and why?
Yes, you are cared for on a daily basis and your future matters to the organisation, so you are trained and listened to.
What has been the highlight of your volunteering?
Talking to the children and staff about the playground. Being shown secret dens or having them explained to me. Being shown the nooks and crannies in trees and having them explained in children’s play terms. Witnessing adults playing too and having a funeral party turn up to a coffee morning.
On average, how many children do you work with on a daily basis?
About 15 – 20 most Saturdays.
Naomi volunteers for Play Torbay.