Pledge the gift of time (Eric Pickles MP did!) – JVN goes to Jewish Living Expo 2012

JVN Director Leonie and Volunteer Shirley at Living Expo kicking off the pledges of time

This last Sunday, myself and the entire JVN team spent a long, but absolutely fantastic, day at the Jewish Living Expo meeting what seemed like the entire community.  JVN has often done school and other small volunteering fairs, but never anything on this level.

JVN played a double role in the Expo, helping Jewish News and its event organisers, to recruit and train the volunteer team to help out the event.  And with around 9,000 people from across the spectrum of the community there, they were certainly needed!

The event was truly packed with exhibitors from travel, fashion, (lots of) food, schools, communal organisations and charities like ourselves.  I was delighted to see the entire community represented in terms of religious affiliation and none – JVN works cross-communally from interfaith to Orthodox – but it’s rare to have everyone happily under one roof…!

Eric Pickles MP, Minister for Communities and Local Government, pledges his time

Eric Pickles MP, Minister for Communities and Local Government, pledges his time

The theme of our stall was pledging the gift of time. There’s a famous quote about volunteering: Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. And underlying this is the knowledge you really can’t put a price on the gift of time, of energy, given freely for the benefit of others.  So rather than just giving away promotional gifts – except our tasty kosher JVN branded sweets – we gave people the opportunity to pledge their time on our nifty pledge wall.  And in return? We gave them the gift of time, our natty purple JVN jelly watches! We were surprised, and quite literally honoured, to welcome VIP guest Eric Pickles MP, Minister for Communities and Local Government to the stall.

JVN's gift of timeAfter we told him a little about our work, with suitably Jewish chutzpah, we thrust a post-it at him and got him to pledge his time to do something extra in Volunteers’ Week 2012. We will be following up with him and getting more of you to pledge your time for the week… so watch this space!

Ethan taking on the challenge of volunteering

JVN also would like to say a thank you to our dedicated volunteers – and staff who volunteered their time too – who helped out at our stall or who mingled, modelled our remarkably JVN purple and orange t-shirts, handed out leaflets and generally shouted about the work we do. So a huge thank you to Asher, Barry, Benji, Carol, Es, Hilary, Joanne, Judy, Lia, Sheldon, Shirley, Susan and a special mention to 11-year old Ethan. Ethan is doing a very special volunteering challenge with JVN…more of that soon! To check out all the pictures from the Expo – visit our Facebook page or the JVN website!


Categories: JVN Events, JVN News, Leonie's View, Volunteering, Volunteering Events


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 and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.


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