The Gateway Project – Volunteers (really) Pushing the Envelope

I promised in my previous post about our exciting shortlisting for the Charity Times Award to introduce you to a hugely important member of our team – our Special Projects Coordinator Judy. So with without further ado, over to her!

My name is Judy Nagler and, as Leonie says, I’m the Special Projects Coordinator for JVN. I split my work between supporting Ambassadors for Camp Simcha who raise awareness about the Charity in schools and synagogues and as the Secretary to a group of Jewish childcare organisations in the Borough of Barnet arranging meetings for them to network and gain useful information.

Judy Nagler taking a rare break by attending a JVN event at the House of Lords

But the main part of my time is managing what’s known as the Gateway Project – originally a joint project set up in 2008 between JVN, Jewish Care, JAMI and Norwood – which aims to involve everyone in volunteering, no matter what their personal barriers are, for example, physical disability or people with a mental health challenge or learning disability.

In practice, this involves a real variety of different things. First off, it usually involves me sitting down one-to-one with the potential volunteer: finding out their skills and what they have to offer, but also finding out what barriers they have to overcome.

After this, it’s usually a case of investigating and helping to find a volunteering opportunity that is  particularly suited to their needs for example, wheelchair access or a simple travel route to the office. It can also mean assigning a mentor to support people in their volunteering activity or accompanying volunteers on their first visit to an organisation.

One activity that Gateway volunteers often get involve in is envelope stuffing, which is a manageable task for most people and which is hugely useful to charities who often do big mail outs. Last week for instance I led a group of volunteers, some of whom had barriers to volunteering, in stuffing envelopes for Tzedek – in one and a half days we completed this task which amounted to dealing with over 1,000 letters. It was so enjoyable, working together as a team, with no small amount of chatting involved!

JVN is aiming to set up a crack team of volunteers who we can ask to stuff envelopes or deliver leaflets from time to time.

Our next assignment is on 20th and 21st September when we have 3,000 JVN Newsletters to send out to the Jewish Community. It really can be very satisfying activity and a social outlet for all those involved. We can help arrange travel and provide other support and it will take place in the JHub in West Hampstead.

We are also looking for people who are willing to act as Mentors to support Gateway volunteers, in general, with full training given.

Anyone available to volunteer either for JVN envelope stuffing or as a mentor for the Gateway Project should contact me: judy@jvn.org.uk – I really hope to hear from you!

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Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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