CSR – the next step from Dianne, Admin Assistant at Appletree


I was welcomed to the Newbury Volunteer Centre by Garry Poulson the Director.  I was hoping that he would be able to come up with a project for me to work on, a project that I can call my own.  Whatever Garry had in mind for me I was hoping that it would be a challenge and that I could see a clear beginning and end with a sense of achievement.

I made a list of key points for consideration.

  • Make sure there are clear objectives for the project so that every one knows what success will look like.
  • Be clear on how much time I can devote to the project.  Things have a habit of expanding once you get started.
  • Be clear about where I will carry out this work.
  • Put the basics in writing so there can’t be any disagreements later.
  • Keep communicating – there is always some potential for things to go awry, but if everyone is talking to each other major problems can usually be avoided.

I was made to feel very welcome at the Centre by Garry, his colleagues and team of volunteers.  The Centre runs the much needed Newbury Handybus scheme, it operates a small fleet of specially adapted vehicles that takes groups of people on regular shopping trips and other excursions.

Shopmobility provides manual and electric wheelchairs and scooters to enable people with permanent or temporary mobility problems to go about their business in Newbury with complete independence. They also run a Car and Driver Scheme that takes people who are unable to use public transport to appointments of all kinds. 

The Volunteer Centre also acts as a Volunteer Recruitment Agency for local organisations who need volunteer help. The computerised Job Shop for volunteers now carries details about more than 220 volunteering opportunities in West Berkshire. 

Gary suggested that I could help with this aspect of their work.  He said that he would like me to help organise a town centre event and go out and recruit local shops and banking halls to host a local charity for the day in order to raise awareness of local charitable work and to recruit more volunteers.

I must admit the words “go out” filled me with dread.  I was used to sitting behind my computer screen, making contact with the outside word via email and the telephone.

My first question was how many retailers would I need to contact? He suggested about 40, “but don’t expect each one to participate, you may have to visit more than once and gently encourage them to get on board”.  I asked if it would it be quicker to phone? “It might be, but in my experience face to face contact is the best approach,”  said Garry. 

“Go out” it is then. I will let you know how I got on in my next instalment.


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