One silver-lining of recent events is the strengthening of community spirit we’ve seen across the country.
We will all be forever indebted to those who worked on the front line – the hospital staff, supermarket workers and public transport teams that kept the country going when the rest of us had to stay at home – but there have also been countless examples of other people coming together to help their neighbours.
Watching key workers put their lives at risk seemed to bring out a kinder side to everyone. We heard heart-warming stories of people using their own unique personal skills and strengths to help their local community in a huge variety of ways.
From younger people doing the weekly food shop for older relatives and photographers capturing families from their living room windows to restaurant owners delivering free food to hospitals and actors putting on doorstep performances – people went above and beyond to use their skills to “do their bit”. Here in Croydon, we saw Matthew’s Yard assemble a team of people to pack and distribute food parcels, we saw Mr Fox cook and deliver meals to Croydon hospital staff and we watched artists like Chris Shea spread some smiles painting murals for donations to the NHS. To name just a few!
And as the Guardian reported last May, “Ten million UK adults have been volunteering in their community during the coronavirus crisis, and most say they will carry on after the lockdown ends”.
So we’re hoping to build on this momentum! Since launching, we’ve focused our charitable efforts on promoting the work of local charities, arranging sponsorship events and making financial contributions through merchandise sales.
But we’re now keen to take this further and create an East Croydon Cool Volunteer Team. We want to work with local charities and non-profits on ad-hoc volunteer projects, whereby we bring a group of East Croydon Cool followers together to help complete a specific task.
Our first project is with Start It Right, a new non-profit organisation that is launching in Croydon in July 2021. Start It Right is focused on providing exciting youth projects for young people.
Their mission is to “provide affordable holiday playschemes and youth projects for young people that will encourage and empower them to flourish as individuals and raise their aspirations”. Start It Right will offer “youth-led projects for young people ages 8 and upwards. These projects will take place in various locations throughout the year, starting in the London Borough of Croydon”. The aim of Start It Right is to “engage with young people across local communities by offering them safe and stimulating environments where they can nurture their creativity, build on their intellect and develop skilful thinking through the delivery of informal learning and play opportunities”.
Start It Right will celebrate its launch in Croydon on Sunday 4th July with a Family Day held at the Old Town Youth Club on Duppas Hill. From 11am to 3pm, families across the Borough are invited to enjoy a free day out and learn more about the organisation.
A team of East Croydon Cool volunteers will be put in charge of an Arts and Crafts room in which they will help oversee creative activities such as hama beads, t-shirt printing and nail art. Volunteers are also welcome to demonstrate their own artistic skills!
So if you would like to spend a few hours on a Sunday helping local kids nurture their creativity whilst meeting like-minded local residents or if you’d be interested in hearing about future East Croydon Cool Volunteer Team projects, please drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.