As one chapter closes, another opens…

This penultimate blog post of 2012 will reflect on two major changes that will affect JVN going into the New Year, both of which have occurred within the last week.

The first change sees the end of the Jubilee Hour campaign. This campaign was set up by John O’Brien and his team of staff in order to celebrate HM The Queen’s 60 years of public service to the nation. People can donate an hour of their time – 60 minutes for 60 years – to volunteer during the year, which they can then record on the main campaign website as their Jubilee Hour. They can talk about their experiences and what they enjoyed about their volunteering. So far the campaign has collected over 2.7 million Jubilee Hours, making it the most successful collective volunteering effort in Britain since World War Two. JVN decided to join the Jubilee Hour campaign in association with the Board of Deputies and collate the Jubilee Hours of the Jewish community in Britain, which will be presented to Her Majesty by the Board at the end of the year. We have been asking for people to record their Jubilee Hours on a special page on the JVN website and have so far collected over 37,000 Jubilee Hours. You still have until 31st December to register your Jubilee Hours on the JVN website – if you have donated or plan to donate any of your time in 2012 to volunteering, tell us what, where and for how long you have volunteered (or will be volunteering) by filling in the yellow form on the right hand side of the aforementioned page. You can see what others have been up to here.

Mike with holds an Olympic Torch at the Jubilee Hour reception.

Mike with holds an Olympic Torch at the Jubilee Hour reception.

The end of the Jubilee Hour campaign was marked by a special reception at the Houses of Parliament on Thursday 5th December, hosted by the Rt. Hon. Michael Ellis, MP and attended by JVN’s Leonie and Mike. Also speaking at the reception were the Minister for Communities and Local Government, the Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles, MP and John O’Brien, who hinted at a new exciting follow-on project to be launched in 2013 – watch this space!

The other big change JVN has expereinced occurred last night. Our long-serving Co-Founder Susan Winton stepped down from her position as Chair of the Board of Trustees at our informal Chanukah party, hosted by the JVN President Ros Preston. Susan was widely prasied by Ros, JVN Director Leonie and her replacement Chairman David Lazarus. Particularly highlighted was the perfect balance Susan found between her role as Co-Founder and her role as the Chair – although she had a vision of how JVN was meant to be and was passionately and intimately involved with the team of staff to ensure that vision was delivered, she was also distant enough to allow JVN to flourish into something much greater than it was originally ever intended to be.

(L-R) JVN Co-Founder and outgoing Chair Susan Winton, new Chair David Lazarus, President Ros Preston and Director Leonie at the Chanukah party.

JVN Co-Founder and outgoing Chair Susan Winton (far left), new Chair David Lazarus, President Ros Preston and Director Leonie (far right) at the JVN 2012 Chanukah party.

Professor Margaret Harris recounted how Susan and our other Co-Founder Judy Citron z”l originally came up with the idea for JVN when they stumbled upon a paper she had written in the 1990s for the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, which echoed Susan and Judy’s feelings that the Jewish community needed a servive to act as a matchmaker between charities and volunteers. Although the JVN website still provides this function, since its creation in 2008 JVN has undertaken a whole range of other tasks such as holding its Volunteer Co-ordinator Forum meetings, putting on various events for trustees, developing a whole programme for youth volunteering, creating the emlpoyee volunteering programme Embrace and, of course, establishing its place as the foremost expert organisation on volunteering in the Jewish community – all largely down to Susan’s exceptional drive and determination as the leader of JVN.

Although Susan will no doubt be terribly missed by the JVN staff and all who were involved in her work as Chair, she has not completely left JVN – she will continue to sit on the Board of Trustees and she has also agreed to join the Advisory Board of Vscheme, a student volunteering intiative that JVN has recently partnered with. We are confident that David Lazarus, our new Chairman, will be able to lead JVN in the right direction as we face an exciting yet challenging year ahead.

And so, JVN begins a new chapter in its life. Although small, our arms are far-reaching and we continue to affect the lives of many individuals and the wellbeing of many charities within the British Jewish community in a positive way. Next week, in this year’s final blog, you can find out what we have in store for 2013.

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Categories: JVN News, The Third Sector, Volunteering Events

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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